As an educator, you know that literacy is an integral part of student success. You also know that literacy can be one of the biggest struggles in the classroom. As the requirements for literacy success grow, it’s more imperative than ever that we set students up for high achievement from a young age.
At HMH, we conducted impact studies in Asbury Park School District, New Jersey, and in Troup County School System, Georgia, on increasing K–3 literacy and the efficacy of varying teaching practices. We pulled together three tips from what we learned in these case studies to help you increase literacy in your district.
1. Use Data to Create Student-Centered Education
Students need rigor and relevance to keep them engaged, and of course, each student has different needs. Focusing on the needs of today’s student is the first step in determining how best to reach students, especially those that are struggling with literacy.
Data is an important tool in monitoring what students need. Anonymous student surveys regarding factors such as learning environment and quality of instruction can give you insights on how to better meet students’ needs. For example, students in Troup County were interested in real-world relevance. However, surveys showed that students saw far less relevancy in the lessons they were receiving than their teachers thought!
Data-driven progress monitoring can identify perception gaps like the one in Troup County so that they can be addressed immediately to increase classroom efficacy. The more engaged students are in the curriculum and in what they’re reading, the better their literacy learning. This can work on an individual level too; for students who are struggling with literacy but show interest elsewhere, combining literacy learning with something else they’re excited about can create a student who is excited about literacy learning.