Literacy, a piece of education that shows up in all the subjects we teach. From English class to story problems in math literacy is literally everywhere in education. When students struggle to read, it can make several other tasks difficult to do as well. How do we build strong literacy skills in our students to help them embrace their learning instead of struggling with the words? Here are six easy literacy development strategies for teachers.
#1 Keep Track!
Truth bomb: A student can “read” by just looking at a few words at a time and reading them. Literacy isn’t just about reading though. Literacy development is about reading AND understanding what we read. Often times the comprehension part of reading that puts students on the struggle bus. One way to open the doors and let them off this bus is by encouraging and giving them the tools to keep track of their reading.Truth bomb: A student can “read” by just looking at a few words at a time and reading them. Literacy isn’t just about reading though. Literacy is about reading AND understanding what we read. Click To Tweet
While we can do this through guided reading, another way to do this is to chart their progress as they read. This chart can show the basic points of plot or simple ask them to retell what they read about. Not only will charting their reading help them keep focus, it will also show you what they are and are not understanding.
#2 Let’s Talk About It!
Another easy way to develop literacy skills is to teach to the whole brain. Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) helps students make connections to different areas which increases their overall understanding. When you use WBT for guided reading and with writing, you show them how to develop vital skills. The best part about WBT thinking, it can be used in literacy centers.
#3 Check 1,2 Comprehension Check 1,2
Whole brain thinking isn’t just great for reading and writing, it can also be very helpful when it comes to fluency. This is another great guided reading activity and something you can use in literacy centers especially if you have a classroom helper! Fluency can help not only with the overall understanding of a text, it can help make them stronger and more confident readers.
#4 Phonetic Fun
The basics of literacy development are phonetics. When students know their phonetics, they are able to figure out unknown words. One of the best things you can do to make phonics fun is to play a game! Games are not only great for reinforcing skills, but they are also great for getting kids to buy into the idea. Squares Your Brain, for example, is a great game to play in centers.
Another great game to play for fast finishers and in centers is BUMP games. This game is amazing to have in nice little boxes for students to grab when they get done with work. With this game, students can work more phonetic language and practice while having fun challenging themselves or maybe a friend.
#5 Sight Words for the Win!
One of the best things we can do for our students when developing language is to utilize the sight words we read so much about. Looking at sight words is great, but there are so many ways to use sight words. When students master sight words, they gain knowledge on high frequency words plus they can learn how parts of those words can help them find the meaning of other words. Because students can use sight words to find the meaning of other words, they build strong literacy skills. In addition, knowing their sight words helps build strong fluency.
#6 Literacy Centers
Literacy centers are some of the golden tools of education. When you use literacy centers effectively, we can develop literacy skills easily with any of the tools from above. By using literacy centers, you have the opportunity to teach to the whole brain and maximize your students’ literacy skills no matter what level they start at.
Literacy is a big idea that makes a big difference in the education world and not just in English class. Strong literacy skills help students in math, science, history, and more! Make sure you are making literacy a big part of your classroom this year, and you’ll make your year better in every single class you teach.