Blogs on Literacy

Blogs on LiteracyRSS
Dave GuymonMarch 3, 2014

Increasingly, educators are acknowledging and welcoming the relative advantages of social media into the teaching and learning process. From creating school Facebook pages to connecting students with experts via Twitter, social media has taken root as a legitimate classroom learning and communication tool. The highly linguistic nature of social media allows us to create and consume ideas and information unlike ever before. Much attention has been given to composing an articulate blog post and condensing our messages to 140 characters or less. However, effective use of this 21st century technology requires that we not only become proficient in textual communication, but also in our ability to express ourselves and interpret others' ideas through visual literacy.

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Larry FerlazzoFebruary 27, 2014

Editor's Note: This blog was co-authored by Katie Hull Sypnieski. Portions of this post are excerpted from their book, The ESL/ELL Teacher's Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching English-Language Learners of All Levels.

Helping English-language learners develop proficiency in academic language has always been a priority for K-12 educators, and its importance has only been heightened with the advent of the Common Core. To better understand academic language, let's examine the distinction between two terms introduced by Jim Cummins, basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP), that have impacted both policy and practices in second-language education:

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Mary Beth HertzFebruary 18, 2014

Many educators are worried about how technology is affecting the amount of reading that students are doing. They notice that:

  • Students are struggling to read and comprehend longer texts.
  • Students are struggling to read deeply.
  • Many students report that they don’t read outside of school at all.

There are a few contributing factors to this, technology being one and high-stakes testing being another. We could also argue that kids aren't reading less, they're reading differently.

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Abbie KopfFebruary 14, 2014

Editor's note:This post was coauthored by Philomena Jones, a Big Thought Fellow with a focus on literacy development and arts education. Her background is business writing, recruiting and K-college public and private education.

Bookworms everywhere mourned the state of our country when Pew released a poll that found 23 percent of Americans didn't read a single book in the previous year. Things aren't looking particularly encouraging for future generations, either. Experts estimate that only 1/3 of parents regularly read to their children, even though reading plays an immense role in cognitive development.

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Lisa Michelle DabbsFebruary 14, 2014

"Read along with me: the best is yet to be." - Lisa Dabbs (adapted from Robert Browning)

When I first became a teacher, I was excited to begin sharing the love of reading with my students. I grew up loving to read and couldn't wait to open up the children's literary book club pick that my Dad had on monthly order for me.

The time I spent with books transformed my life and sparked my imagination. I wanted to create a similar experience for my students, but I found that it was sometimes a challenge due to their home life circumstances. In the end, though, it was well worth the effort.

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Matt DavisFebruary 13, 2014

The importance of early literacy cannot be understated. Countless studies have shown that students who start reading earlier are better prepared for the academic road ahead. Not to mention, early readers are much more likely to become lifelong readers.

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Antony SmithFebruary 11, 2014

Needs and Responses

As a reading instructor and former elementary school teacher, I understand the importance of instructors learning to respond to students' needs and interests. To foster adaptive teaching, I provide opportunities for preservice teachers to work with individual students through tutorial experiences embedded in my methods course, BEDUC 410: Knowing, Teaching and Assessing in Reading, Writing and Communication. During part of six class sessions, my preservice teachers meet one-to-one with third grade student buddies at a local school and engage in informal reading conferences to explore five dimensions of reading.

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David CutlerFebruary 6, 2014

When I was a student, nothing helped me become more skilled at writing history than learning about journalism -- news reporting, in particular. I don't mean to undervalue my fabulous teachers in high school or college, many of whom spurred my intellectual growth and curiosity. Still, learning about reporting played a pivotal role in my success as a history major at one of America's most revered academic institutions, Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Each year, then, I teach my high school history students some news-reporting basics. You might consider doing the same.

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Elena AguilarFebruary 5, 2014

"Nearly a quarter of American adults did not read a single book in the past year." I was eating an apple when I read this this and I gasped and the apple piece got stuck and I ran around trying to find someone who Heimlich me and dislodge it. Although it came out, I'm still symbolically choking on this fact. It terrifies me.

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Peter AdamsJanuary 31, 2014

Every teacher I've worked with over the last five years recalls two kinds of digital experiences with students.

The first I think of as digital native moments, when a student uses a piece of technology with almost eerie intuitiveness. As digital natives, today's teens have grown up with these tools and have assimilated their logic. Young people just seem to understand when to click and drag or copy and paste, and how to move, merge and mix digital elements.

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