Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris are the writers and thinkers behind Burkins & Yaris—Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy, where their blog and their instructional resources have drawn a national audience and made them thought leaders in the field of literacy instruction.
In their role as literacy consultants, Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris work closely with schools and districts, facilitating staff development, conducting in-class demonstrations, and developing curriculum. Kim Yaris is the founder of Literacy Builders and spends more than 100 days per year consulting in schools. Jan Burkins, founder of Literacyhead, has authored and co-authored several books, including IRA’s bestseller, Preventing Misguided Reading.
Jan and Kim’s first book together, Reading Wellness (Stenhouse, 2014), shares field-tested, practical lessons designed to meet the rigorous demands of the Common Core while increasing joy in classrooms. With more than 40 combined years of experience in school districts, Jan and Kim’s work is steeped in literacy research but both have the heart of a practitioner. They truly understand what teachers need to know in order to improve literacy instruction.
Statement of Philosophy
Our overarching goal at Burkins & Yaris is to assist children in becoming proficient readers and writers. This begins with the people who teach them.
We believe that effective change happens from the inside out. We know that when teachers understand the foundations of how children learn to read and write, they are better equipped to teach students. Teachers need opportunities to learn new techniques and strategies that inform their instruction. Their learning needs to be extended to their own classrooms, and they need support as they continue to question and try out new innovations. Our staff development is based on the following ideals:
- All children can be taught to be better readers and writers.
- Teachers cannot teach reading and writing effectively without knowing their students.
- Teachers who understand their students’ reading process can more effectively teach them.
- It is possible to teach instructional standards without sacrificing your inner teacher.
- Teachers are researchers who use what they know about their students’ knowledge of skills and strategies to plan appropriate instruction.
- Ongoing support and professional learning encourages reflection.
- Reflective practitioners recognize both the strengths and weaknesses of their teaching and implement long-term changes that have a positive impact on student learning.