Developing Children's Literacy: Building Blocks for Students, Parents, Teachers, and Administrators: Home

This guide provides a variety of resources for children, parents, teachers, and administrators who are working to improve literacy.

Introduction

First graders who are not on grade level by the end of the year have a 1 in 10 chance of ever achieving grade level reading proficiency.  (Linda Katz 2000 Children's Literacy Initiative.  Importance of Investing in Literacy http://www.cliontheweb.org/investing1/html.

The purpose of this LibGuide is to provide a variety of resources for children, parents, teachers, and administrators who are involved in elementary level reading instruction.  Classroom teachers face many challenges as they teach children to read.  Classrooms are increasingly diverse, we have budgetary constraints that limit staffing and increase class size, and the demands of the curriculum are very rigorous.  New teachers often have to find their own resources for learning to teach reading.  Societal changes have caused more children to enter school without the background knowledge and basic skills necessary to learn to read.  My  goal in this project is to have a ready reference for all new and experienced teachers to use to implement an effective reading program.  This guide can be a resource for administrators to use as they implement research based best practice teaching methods.  Parents can use this guide to help their children with reading at home.  Children can use this guide to practice reading and writing skills, and to explore books and authors.

Statistics on Literacy

The literacy crisis today is as pervasive and alarming as it was in 1971 when Sesame Workshop created the first version of The Electric Company. We know that if struggling readers don’t get the literacy help they need by the end of second grade, they are in danger of never catching up.

bullet Overall 27% of public school 4th graders score BELOW basic levels on reading exams.1

By demographic:
bullet 54% of African American fourth graders read below grade level
bullet 51% of Hispanic/Latino fourth graders read below grade level
bullet 49% of American Indian fourth graders read below grade level
bullet 24% of Asian American fourth graders read below grade level
bullet 23 % of Caucasian fourth graders read below grade level
bullet During the critical early years of cognitive development, many impoverished children lack opportunities to build their literacy skills. They generally hear 30 million fewer words by age three than their more privileged peers do (due to a limited experience of being spoken or read aloud to). When these disadvantaged children start kindergarten, they are already well behind their more affluent peers in terms of vocabulary knowledge. Without effective intervention, this “literacy gap” grows wider as years pass.2

bullet 1st graders who are not on grade level by the end of the year have a 1 in 10 chance of ever achieving grade level reading proficiency.3

bullet The first three grades are the time to learn basic literary skills. When children enter the fourth grade, they are expected to use these skills to tackle information that is new to them. In other words, in grades one, two and three children are expected to learn to read. After that, they read to learn unfamiliar and more difficult content. This is one reason why we often hear teachers talk about “the fourth grade wall” – an obstacle too formidable for many kids to scale.4

bullet In 2003, as many as five percent of adults over the age of 16 (11 million adults) were non-literate in English, 14 percent (30 million) were below basic in literacy, and another 29 percent (63 million) possessed only basic literacy skills.5

1U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2007 Reading Assessment.

2Hart, B. and Risley, T., The 30 Million Word Gap. American Educator, Spring 2003.

3Katz, Linda. 2000. Children’s Literacy Initiative. Importance of Investing in Literacy. http://www.cliontheweb.org/investing1.html

4U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2007 Reading Assessment.

5U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy.

Adult Illiteracy

A troubling report released by the Education Department suggests that a shocking number of Americans can barely read. One in seven American adults lack sufficient reading skills. Seth Doane reports.

21st Century Literacy

Being literate has moved beyond just being able to read and write. 

Will Smith Running and Reading

Watch a video of Will Smith accompanied by DJ Jazzy Jeff in a motivational speech about why running and reading are the two most important things in life.

Subject Guide

Stephanie Karker
Contact:
stephkarker@gmail.com

What motivated me to choose this topic?

I have taught 2nd grade in Ashland, Wisconsin for 18 years.  I have a Masters Degree in Instruction, I have taken intensive reading instruction courses, and work with struggling readers on a daily basis.  I continually strive to learn more about  teaching reading in order to provide the best instruction for my students.    Each year we have children entering primary school without the early literacy skills that are necessary for them to learn to read.  I created this LibGuide to provide a variety of information that will help students, parents, and educators to improve student literacy.

What is your role in teaching children to read?

Which best describes you?

What is your role in teaching children to read?
I am learning to read.: 0 votes (0%)
Parent: 0 votes (0%)
Teacher: 6 votes (100%)
Administrator: 0 votes (0%)
Support Staff: 0 votes (0%)
College Student: 0 votes (0%)
Child Care Provider: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 6

How did you feel about learning to read as a child?

Which best describes you?

How did you feel about learning to read as a child?
Learning to read was easy.: 6 votes (85.71%)
Learning to read was somewhat difficult, but I made it through.: 0 votes (0%)
Learning to read was a struggle for me, and I wish I could have had more help.: 1 votes (14.29%)
Total Votes: 7

What are your reading habits now?

How often do you read for pleasure?

What are your reading habits now?
I read for pleasure daily.: 5 votes (71.43%)
I read for pleasure frequently.: 2 votes (28.57%)
I read for pleasure occasionally.: 0 votes (0%)
I never read for pleasure.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 7