Improving Literacy Briefs
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.
Dyslexia is a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. For individuals with dyslexia, specific portions of the brain typically associated with important reading processes may not function in the same ways that they do in individuals without dyslexia. Individuals with dyslexia often have difficulty with phonological processing, spelling, or rapid visual-verbal responding. Importantly, dyslexia is related to reading difficulties, not difficulties that arise from intellectual functioning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn MoreSupporting Your Child’s Literacy Development at Home Tutorial
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.
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.