Emergent literacy

What we know

Studies show academic achievement is associate with engagement in reading and classroom-related activities. (Finn 1993)

Students with high self-efficacy are more likely to engage in school related reading than those with low self-efficacy. (Alvermann 2003)

High school teachers contribute to adolescent self-confidence when they care about them as individuals and encourage them to learn (Dillon, 1989, Dillon & Moje, 1998)

The caring teacher who believes that students can succeed can have a positive Pygmalion Effect - whereby believing in potential creates potential- in adolescents.
Relevant curricular topics motivated students to learn about the characteristics of persuasive writing (Greenleag, Jimenez, & Roller, 2002)

Providing students choice among assignments and texts make students less resistant to completing their work (Wigfield, 2004)

Use of student ideas, biographies, and imaginations across genres and media help struggling youth.

Reading instruction must be continuous with emphasis on developing strategic knowledge for dealing with unknown words and comprehension.

To work on developing comprehension students must understand where, when, and how to apply varied comprehension strategies.

Recent studies suggest teenagers can recognize the sources of their difficulties and, from this recognition, can learn to strategize and progress by reading more difficult texts which increases teens’ self-efficacy in their ability to read and comprehend.

Skill content area teachers are those adept in understanding their students’ individual motivations and needs while creating condition through discussion and strategy, for literacy success in multiple contexts. This is vastly different than promoting the literacy of children through phonemic awareness and fluency identified in NCLB.

Students need not learn to read or write richly if their task is to learn facts.
Rich writing requires a need to solve problems posed by complicated content and contexts.

NCLB says nothing about students who fail because they chose not to play the game of academics or about school systems that favor one print based literacy over others.

Students must be able to comprehend more complex texts; determine the meaning of obscure, unfamiliar, and technical vocabulary; use higher-order thinking skills to analyze a wide variety of literacy and expository texts and media; and develop skills for expressing their ideas by writing informative, persuasive, and creative texts.

Results of the 2002, Reading and Writing' assessments of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Achievement-level definitions used to derive the results.

  1. Below Basic—Achievement that is less than partial mastery.
  2. Basic—Partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade.
  3. Proficient—Solid academic performance for each grade assessed. Students
  4. reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter.
  5. Advanced—Superior performance.

The 2002 NAEP data provide suggest challenges facing our students and teachers in middle and high schools:

  1. Approximately 68 percent of Grade 8 students and 64 percent of Grade 12 students are reading below the proficient level.
  2. Approximately 69 percent of Grade 8 students and 77 percent of Grade 12 students are writing below the proficient level.
  3. Less than 6% of students at Grade 8 and 12 performed at the advanced level in reading.
  4. Approximately 2% of students in Grade 8 and 12 performed at the advanced level in writing.