By: Linda Moyer
Literacy is an essential skill needed to be successful in education, the workforce and life in general. As
educators, we strive to prepare our students to become successful and productive members of society. Surely, reading and writing are vital parts of this process.
Education is the foundation of tomorrow—literacy is the tool needed to build that foundation. If we subscribe to this philosophy, then as educators, we must embed reading and writing into our content material. How can students learn the material if they cannot understand the text?
Knowing that not all students come to the classroom with the same background and that different students learn in a variety of ways, we must begin to educate each student for who they are. Teachers can use strategies to serve diverse learning styles and enhance their teaching methods, which can provide valuable assistance to all students as we look to improve achievement.
Literacy strategies are readily accessible through many resources—including the Literacy Library I have created on the ACTE Web site, with demonstration videos and reference materials—and can assist teachers in multiple ways. With the use of strategies students are able to organize material in ways that improve their comprehension. Strategies can also assess the level of students’ comprehension, which can show us how best to help them learn. Once the student has taken in the information they have acquired, they can evaluate it in a format that is not strictly reading questions and writing answers. In addition, strategies are especially useful in motivating students and creating interest in new topics. For students to see relevance to a topic, they must be able to make connections to knowledge that they already have. Finally, strategies can provide students with ways to approach concepts, vocabulary or text, to question and break down information ultimately to increase levels of understanding.
Strategies are necessary tools, which students need to learn and master in order to find success in the classroom and the workforce, but more importantly to become lifelong learners and productive members of society.