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Visible Learning for Literacy

with Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

"Visible learning is about knowing that you have an impact on students. It’s about figuring out what that impact is and monitoring that impact so that you know you are making a difference. Visible learning makes the learning process obvious, clear, and notable for you as the teacher as well as for your students. Learning to share data with students and having them create their own goals is magic in the classroom.”
–Douglas Fisher & Nancy Frey


Educators have been in search of “what works” for decades. Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey’s collective search for better ways to reach students and ensure that they develop knowledge and skills has resulted in thousands of books, hundreds of thousands of research articles, and countless websites. The truth is nearly all things teachers do work to increase student achievement. But a smaller number of approaches work at ensuring that students gain a full year’s worth of growth for a year of enrollment in school. Douglas and Nancy think it’s time we focused on what works, what doesn’t work, and what can’t hurt. To do this, they turned to John Hattie and his Visible Learning research (Hattie, 2009, 2012) for help. With him, they wrote Visible Learning for Literacy (Fisher, Frey, & Hattie, 2016). As this work makes clear, students must develop surface-level knowledge if they are ever going to go deep. And we know that deep learning can facilitate transfer, which has been a goal shared by educators for as long as there have been teachers. Timing is everything, and using the right strategy for the phase of learning ensures a year’s worth of progress for every year in school.

Discover the literacy practices that ensure students demonstrate more than a year’s worth of growth for every year spent in school. Bring Douglas, Nancy, or a member of their collaborative to your school or district for a workshop and learn how by using the right approach at the right time you can design classroom experiences that maximize student learning.

  • Learn more about the three phases of learning—surface, deep, and transfer
  • Explore which literacy strategies work best for each phase of learning
  • Discover how to measure your impact on student learning
  • Discover how complexity and difficulty build fluency, stamina, and critical thinking



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