Back to Basics: Literacy

The pandemic changed a lot about how we work, teach and learn, and now it’s time to get back to basics and make sure we’re creating the best conditions for students to learn. Our focus is ensuring our students thrive and receive the best education possible.

Part of learning is understanding how to learn. We teach strategies to help students know where and how to seek information and think critically about the information they find. 

To be successful, all students need a foundation of literacy. Reading helps students to develop their language and listening skills, helps to broaden their understanding of the world and supports their vocabulary and comprehension skills. 

To become a stronger reader, students need to develop three sets of literacy skills: speaking, writing and reading. Speaking and writing help students make sense of their own thinking. Discussing books helps students understand a text from different points of view.   Journaling or other writing assignments involve organizing and clarifying thoughts. Reading and writing are really about thinking. And literacy is about more than just reading. It also takes practice. That’s why we recommend ALL students read for at least 20 minutes a day.

Whether your family has already mastered your reading aloud time or you’re just getting your routine set, we have some tips that can help you support student literacy at home:

  • Make it routine. A regular schedule ensures your read-aloud time won’t be missed. 

  • Choose books your kids enjoy. It’s okay to read the funny books that kids love!

  • Take turns reading aloud. Add to the story in picture books. Or take it slow and go deep into a young novel. It’s better to spend time enjoying and exploring one book than going too quickly through many books. 

  • Mix it up. For example, if your student is struggling with story books, look for topics that interest them. Maybe they’d like to read articles in a magazine or a nonfiction story about a sports hero, scientist, or zookeeper. 

  • Keep the conversation going! Talking about books, what they are learning in school, and how they feel about things in their lives will help them develop vocabulary and comprehension. Students love it when they can relate something in their lives back to the books they read. 

Remember, literacy and learning are about more than the words on a page. Words have meaning — sometimes many meanings. Literacy is about making sense of the words and learning about the world.

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