The theme of International Literacy Day this year, “Literacy and Empowerment,” reminds me of the scope of impact educators have on our students. We are not just teaching kids the basics of a particular grade level or subject; we are teaching them important life skills they will need throughout their lives. Giving our students the gift of literacy truly does empower them and opens up so many opportunities.
Primary teachers often get the opportunity to witness this transformation from non-readers to readers. I think the impact of a kindergarten teacher who loves to read and shares their enthusiasm for the written word is underappreciated. Teachers of these young students deserve the credit for empowering the elementary set with literacy. Unfortunately, many students in the United States and around the world miss this opportunity to start on the path of literacy at such a young age. The longer kids go without learning to read, the harder it is to teach them this important lifelong skill. To help these students, and to support emerging readers at all ages, it is important for teachers in all subjects and grade levels to stress the importance of reading and writing and to encourage literacy in as many ways as possible.
In an effort to support literacy education throughout the United States, The National Education Association sponsors and recommends many different programs, activities, events, and resources to help teachers easily implement literacy support into their classroom. The NEA created a downloadable literacy calendar for the 2009-2010 school year and summer. The resources are still very relevant and useful even in the new school year. You can browse all the resources in the calendar here. We will keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter with new literacy resources and recommendations by the NEA.
One of our favorite of the recommended literacy resources is The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, a unique serial story that is a project of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance and the Library of Congress. Another useful tool to use with this adventure is the Exquisite Prompt Challenge from AdLit.org. The challenge is over, but the site includes ways to implement the challenge prompts in the classroom.
The National Education Association also wants to help teachers celebrate this year’s International Literacy Day. They recommend the following sites for information and activity ideas for this event that focuses on reading from the global perspective: National Institute for Literacy, UNESCO, and the International Reading Association.
For older students, sometimes the key to encouraging and developing the love of reading is to help them find books that speak to the events and feeling s going on in their lives. At any age, students find the most enjoyment reading stories that relate to their lives. Here is a great booklist put together by the NEA. These books were chosen by winners of the Winners of the NEA/Youth Service America program Youth Leaders for Literacy. For younger or struggling students, it is important to make reading and listening to stories fun. Try Storyline Online to allow your students to see famous people reading wonderful children’s literature. You can turn the captions on so your children can read along with the story. Also, watch these Citrus High School students share their love of reading and literacy with the world in their “Reading ‘Rox’” video. Maybe they can inspire you and your students to love it that much, too!
~Peggy's Corner - 9/3/2010~