American Education Week is a celebration of our public education and an opportunity to thank all of the individuals who are either employed by or working in partnership with our K-12 schools to ensure that every student receives a quality education.
In this prelude week to Thanksgiving and holiday season kickoff, IMSE gives its thanks to the millions of literacy support team members – parents, teachers, specialists, and trainers – who play a critical early development role in helping all children learn how to read.
This week, take a moment to remember your own elementary school years – when did you learn to read? Who helped you? Chances are that you learned to read somewhere between kindergarten and first grade and can recall your favorite illustrated stories and early reader book series. If you’re like us, you may still have some of these “classics” tucked in a box to share with the next generation. It is a smart move, too, since the evidence that early literacy development begins long before a child enters the classroom is overwhelming, just as it was on your first day of school.
What has changed is the way reading is taught. Up to 50 percent of children require direct or explicit instruction to read proficiently. Research shows that is the case for all developing readers, not just struggling readers, and the surge in Structured Literacy programming throughout our public schools thankfully aligns with this reality.
The Language Gap Begins Early
When a child enters kindergarten already academically behind their peers, proficiency gaps widen, rather than diminish, over time. Thus, the collaboration between families, caregivers, preschool programs, and pre-K and K-12 educators is really more of a shared responsibility to understand how language and literacy are acquired – and can be strengthened – at every stage in a child’s development. Most importantly, it takes this team to avoid a never-ending game of “catch-up.”
A young child’s ability to use language, as well as attune to and understand the meaning of spoken and written words, is tied to later achievement in reading, writing, and spelling. Studies also show that children from low-income families are both spoken to and read to less frequently than their middle-class peers, which hinders their ability to develop literacy and language skills. This leads to the aforementioned “language gap.”
IMSE “Team” Support
When family learning takes place, children showed a gain of 22.5% in reading scores at or above grade level. IMSE encourages literacy educators to reach out to their students’ parents and caregivers to inspire them to become more involved in their family’s literacy potential.
One way is to sign up for IMSE’s weekly Freebie Friday emails, where our reading experts share creative ideas for lessons, quick reading refreshers, and articles that can help structure and guide an at-home reading support system.
IMSE’s Parent Video and OG in a Bag Bundle is another excellent resource for teachers and specialists looking for more tools to help parents understand what learning can look like beyond the classroom. It includes a two-hour video training that covers foundational reading skills in hands-on training for guardians of beginning readers along with multi-sensory learning tools.
Finally, we send our sincerest thank you to the entire IMSE community of educators, trainers, advocates, and families. We are impacting millions of student readers, together, every single day.
Please connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest to get tips and tricks from your peers and IMSE. Read the IMSE Journal to hear success stories from other schools and districts, and be sure to read the OG Weekly email series for refreshers and tips.