A literacy advocate supports or speaks out for someone else’s educational needs or rights in reading, writing, and language. As a family member, you know your child best. You have seen your child’s literacy skills progress over time. You can embrace your role as an advocate and learn how to work together with your child’s school toward common goals.
There is broad agreement that schools should implement early screening and intervention programs. State legislation generally favors the use of universal screening within schools across grades K-2.
Screening assessments can help capture each child’s reading and language strengths and weaknesses in key early stages of development.
Dyslexia is a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read.
Fluency is the ability to read words, phrases, sentences, and stories accurately, with enough speed, and expression. It is important to remember that fluency is not an end in itself but a critical gateway to comprehension.
Screening for dyslexia risk should be part of a decision-making framework that answers four fundamental questions.
Repeated readings, goal setting, corrective feedback, and graphing performance can help build Fluency with Text.
Phonological awareness involves being able to recognize and manipulate the sounds within words. This skill is a foundation for understanding the alphabetic principle and reading success. There are several ways to effectively teach phonological awareness to prepare early readers, including: 1) teaching students to recognize and manipulate the sounds of speech, 2) teaching students letter-sound relations, and 3) teaching students to manipulate letter-sounds in print using word-building activities.
Four important steps for self-advocacy.
Families and educators can work together to ensure children have successful literacy experiences in and out of school. This is especially important if children have reading difficulties. Families and educators play important roles in a comprehensive approach to literacy development through four key actions: Learn, Advocate, Partner, and Support.
Learning to read is difficult and does not happen naturally. It requires explicit and systematic instruction, which is especially important for struggling readers. Learning to read involves many different skills that must be taught to your child. Instruction in phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension will help your child learn to read.
Learning to read consists of developing skills in two areas: accurate, fluent reading and comprehending the meaning of texts. Learning these skills does not come naturally. Both accurate word reading and text comprehension require careful, systematic instruction.
Studies report fundamental differences in brain development and activation patterns between individuals with dyslexia and those without.
You and the school share responsibility for your child’s language and literacy learning. Collaborate with your school to make decisions about your child’s literacy education right from the start. Your child benefits when you and the school work together to support her literacy development. Working together promotes faster development and catches trouble spots early.
You can coach your child’s literacy learning at home. This means interacting with and guiding your child so he or she grows and succeeds.
Remote literacy learning includes a mixture of literacy learning experiences that are teacher-led, family-led, and student-led. It is a collaboration among schools, families, and students. Parents have an important role in helping develop your child’s literacy skills.
Remote literacy learning includes a mixture of literacy learning experiences that are teacher-led, family-led, and student-led. It is a collaboration among schools, families, and students. Schools play an important role in providing families and students support.
A well-functioning Multi-tiered System of Support for Reading (MTSS-R) collects fidelity of implementation data – including data on family engagement – and uses it to make improvements to the health of the system.
You and the school can share literacy resources to help your child and others get evidence-based literacy instruction. Learn to spot questionable or ineffective practices.
Four tips to use when reading with your child.
Questions to ask about your child's reading instruction at school.
The way you and families approach home-school interactions and relationships, impacts children’s literacy success.
Questions to ask about your child's assessments and instruction at school.
Addressing needs together promotes faster development and catches trouble spots early. Find a solution that you and the school can both support.
Addressing needs together promotes faster development and catches trouble spots early. See if you and families can find a solution that you both can support.
You and the school rely on each other to meet the literacy needs of your child. So, working together can solve conflicts early. Knowing where to turn when you need information or support can help too.
Helping your child with speech sounds supports early reading success.
Asking questions can help your child understand what she reads.
You and the school can talk about your child’s literacy profile and how literacy instruction and intervention is matched to your child’s literacy needs.
You and families can talk about individual children’s literacy profiles and how literacy instruction and intervention are matched to children’s literacy needs.
You and the school can discuss key assessment tools, rubrics, grading criteria, or strategies to determine together if your child is successful in learning literacy content, skills, or completing an assignment.
Helping your child stretch apart and connect sounds to sound out words supports early reading success.
Questions to ask about your child's reading skills.
Difficulties can be spotted early, ask these questions if you have concerns about your child's progress at school.
Regular and positive communication and interaction between you and the school make partnering to support your child’s literacy learning possible.
Regular and positive communication and interaction between you and families make partnering to support children’s literacy learning possible.
Advocacy comes in many forms and can be done in a variety of ways. Whatever path you choose, have a navigation system to follow and forecast your child’s literacy growth.
Help your child practice early literacy skills and understand ideas during everyday life.
Help your child practice speech sounds and letters during everyday life.
Help your child practice language skills and understand ideas during everyday life.
Remote literacy learning is a collaboration among schools, families, and students.
Four ways to be a self-advocate.
The characteristics of dyslexia legislation.
Reading skills provide the foundation for academic success. From the beginning of school, students should be taught different ways of using language to help them learn and communicate about academic content. This brief discusses two areas of literacy development that students must learn so that they can do well in school: foundational reading skills and academic language.
Taking part in literacy experiences at home can develop your child’s reading ability, comprehension, and language skills. Activities that you can engage in at home include: joint reading, drawing, singing, storytelling, reciting, game playing, and rhyming. You can tailor activities to your child’s age and ability level, and can incorporate technology into your learning opportunities.
The alphabetic principle is a critical skill that involves connecting letters with their sounds to read and write. Learning and applying the alphabetic principle takes time and is difficult for most children. Explicit phonics instruction and extensive practice are important when teaching children to learn the alphabetic principle.
Breaking down the truth about Dyslexia.
Signs of typical reading development and possible indicators of risk for dyslexia.
When evaluating the quality of any screening tool, it is important to determine whether or not the assessment is biased against different groups of students. We want to ensure that students do not receive higher or lower scores on an assessment for reasons other than the primary skill or trait that is being tested.
Classification accuracy is a key characteristic of screening tools. A goal in classification accuracy is to correctly identify issues that result in a later problem and situations in which the scores identify issues that do not result in a later problem.
Assessment is a process of collecting information. Screening is an assessment process that helps teachers identify students who are at risk for not meeting grade-level learning goals.
Reliability is the consistency of a set of scores that are designed to measure the same thing. Reliability is a statistical property of scores that must be demonstrated rather than assumed.
Sample representativeness is an important piece to consider when evaluating the quality of a screening assessment. If you are trying to determine whether or not the screening tool accurately measures children’s skills, you want to ensure that the sample that is used to validate the tool is representative of your population of interest.
Validity is broadly defined as how well something measures what it’s supposed to measure. The reliability and validity of scores from assessments are two concepts that are closely knit together and feed into each other.
The term evidence-based is defined by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). According to ESEA, evidence-based programs are supported by strong, moderate, or promising research evidence of their effectiveness; or they demonstrate a rationale that they can improve a targeted outcome. NCIL supports the implementation of approaches with the highest levels of evidence supported by rigorous evaluations.
The research reported here is funded by awards to the National Center on Improving Literacy from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Office of Special Education Programs (Award #: S283D160003). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of OESE, OSEP, or the U.S. Department of Education. Copyright © 2021 National Center on Improving Literacy. https://improvingliterarcy.org