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Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

Early Literacy Leadership Academy (ELLA)

A program participants smiles during group work.

A Rice University Leadership Certificate program specifically designed for early childhood teachers.

The Early Literacy Leadership Academy (ELLA) is a rigorous multi-year program designed to bring together early childhood professionals from public, private and charter school setting who are committed to serving as teacher leaders from their classrooms. Teachers chosen to participate in ELLA experience SLC’s weeklong Summer Institute, yearlong Classroom Storytelling program, full-day Early Literacy Summit, and two-week Creative Writing Camp as a single cohesive program. ELLA teacher leaders study child development theory and research-into-practice literacy strategies that promote listening, speaking, reading, writing, and reasoning in years one and two. Year three brings a specialization in early literacy leadership where participants focus on sharing this information with others at their campuses.

A Sampling of Seminar Topics:

  • What constitutes quality early childhood education?
  • Child development theory and pedagogy
  • The role of oral language in early literacy development
  • Vivian G. Paley’s storytelling and story acting practices
  • Executive functioning and self-regulation through play
  • The neuroscience of brain development
  • Culture and community
  • Early literacy instructionA student tells her story to a teacher who writes it down for her.
    • What teachers need to know
    • What children need to learn

View ELLA Overview presentation (best viewed in Chrome or Firefox browsers)

What our ELLA Teachers are Saying

“The ELLA program has lit a fire beneath me once again. I needed a new challenge. I believe that the values and philosophy of early childhood education that ELLA has brought to my teaching is priceless.” - Jackie, Pre-K Inclusion Teacher

“The ELLA team is one of the best teams I have ever worked with. The amount of knowledge, enthusiasm, passion, and willingness to do and defend what is right for young children is amazing. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow with you.” - Ana, Bilingual Pre-K Teacher

“It is great to be re-invigorated as a teacher and to stay excited about teaching.” - Kathryn, Kindergarten Teacher

“It is so exciting to be around such an honorable group of accomplished, like-minded teachers!” - Amber, First Grade Teacher 

Participants use blocks in a group activity.


Rice University believes in the importance of developing teacher leaders. The Early Literacy Leadership Academy offers a limited number of merit based partial scholarships to highly qualified prospective students. Scholarship opportunities can be discussed during the interview stage of the application process.

Application Process

  1. The Early Literacy Leadership Academy now requires completion of Classroom Storytelling as a pre-requisite to participation. If you have not completed Classroom Storytelling, please do so before applying to ELLA.
  2. Please share and discuss the following benefits and expectations with your administrator prior to submitting your application for ELLA: Benefits of Participation
  3. Apply

Application Deadline: Friday, June 16

Apply for 2017