Sunday, November 4, 2012

The importance of literacy...

"The simplest acquisition of literacy can have a profoundly empowering effect personally, socially and politically.

Literacy gives people tools with which to improve their livelihoods, participate in community decision-making, gain access to information about health care, and above all, it enables individuals to realize their rights as citizens and human beings.

Literacy is not just about reading and writing; it is about respect, opportunity and development..."

Use "Word Walls" throughout the year and personalize them to your content area as well as the specific classroom focus at the time:

Word walls can also be used:

  • To support the teaching of important general principles about words and how they work.
  • To foster reading and writing.
  • To promote independence on the part of young students as they work with words in writing and reading.
  • To provide a visual map to help children remember connections between words and the characteristics that will help them form categories.
  • To develop a growing core of words that become part of a reading and writing vocabulary.
  • To provide reference for children during their reading and writing.

Ways that you can increase opportunities in regard to literacy in your classroom:

~ When your students do a project, solve a problem, or answer a question, have them write a response answering the "how" and the "why."
~ Do more "read alouds" in your classroom and give your students time to focus on oral and audio comprehension. (this is especially important at the elementary levels)
~ Encourage AND allow your students to read more than just books for your class, and don't limit students to reading just printed books.
~ Push the level of rigor in your classroom as it relates to reading materials and writing expectations.

~ Make reading and writing a priority and a central focus in your classroom. When districts make this commitment and transition, the positive effects on student success are huge.
~ Consider having your students start a reflective blog and/or journal to document and monitor their learning and progress. (when students see their progress and growth it can become quite powerful)

And... if all else fails, check out this Education Week article titled, "Five reasons why teaching is still great."