Accelerating Learning in Literacy
When teachers talk about how literacy develops, they often describe it as having two key stages: learning to read, and then reading to learn. This makes a lot of sense; however, between “learning to…” and “reading to…,” we find incredible insights about reading.
To become successful readers, students build skills in what are commonly known as the five pillars of early literacy and reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Each pillar contains key concepts students continually acquire and refine, such as working with sounds to develop phonemic awareness, using phonics to relate sounds to letters, and building vocabulary by attaching meaning to words. After a grounding in those areas, comprehension—when words become ideas and students understand the meaning of text—and fluency develop as students read accurately, smoothly, and expressively to convey that meaning.
Teachers play a critical role in supporting and guiding students as they develop these foundational literacy skills. They rely on Science of Reading research and proven best practices to accelerate learning in literacy that include targeting the skills students need for success, providing ample time and opportunities for practicing those skills, and using data to guide students to greater growth.
How practice builds strong readers
Reading is unique to each reader—some bring a wealth of vocabulary and knowledge to reading, while others may not have had access to the same experiences. Reading practice can level that playing field. Evidence-based reading instruction and intentionally scheduled reading practice serve as the foundation for your students to engage in self-teaching.
How so? Once we master the sound-based system of our language, our reading growth depends more than anything on building vocabulary and background knowledge. Your building blocks are the books and articles you choose to read for practice, for new insights, and for enjoyment: those that fascinate you, those a teacher or friend recommended, and those that just look inviting. The more you practice, the more you grow.
As students read, they sharpen their decoding skills, acquire vocabulary, and build background knowledge. While fluency and automaticity remain essential components of reading, active and regular readers—those who read across genres and who read daily—build substantial reservoirs of vocabulary and knowledge. We can encourage this type of wide reading by ensuring that books are not just available but are easily accessible in all the spaces and formats students could possibly want them.
What many people don’t understand about student reading practice
Students at all grade levels need 3 distinct types of practice to become skilled and confident readers. Here’s why.View blog post
Why reading should also be fun
Anyone who has spent time with children and young people knows that getting their cooperation is a lot easier if it’s fun. For some students, reading doesn’t top their list of fun activities, especially if they’re struggling to develop the basic reading skills to make them successful. Once they’ve established those foundational skills and can comprehend text, they’ll read more, both purposefully and for pleasure, to learn about the world around them.
While we all enjoy puzzles and challenges from time to time, when a task is too hard, it’s just frustrating. For students, the key is hitting the sweet spot between enjoyment and challenge. This includes building literacy skills in a logically sequential or teachable order to move from where they are to where they need to be next. It also means enabling reading at levels that are enjoyable and enriching while also providing scaffolds and supports to help readers work through any challenges they encounter.
If your students find joy in reading, they will read. Finding joy requires access to a wide variety of interesting things to read—fiction, history, biographies, adventure, news, science, and more. Students thrive when they have a choice in what they read for independent reading practice. Choice supports joyful reading.
Using reading data to accelerate growth
It may seem hard to dedicate time to reading practice amid competing priorities and busy lives. But reading practice time isn’t free time or wasted time—it’s learning time that happens to be enjoyable too. By measuring, monitoring, and guiding student reading practice, educators get important insights, like:
- Are students getting enough “just right” practice to help them grow?
- Is their reading wide and diverse enough to enable growth?
- Are they practicing and mastering the skills they need to grow?
- Are they growing enough to meet grade-level expectations?
The common denominator is growth. Teachers need easy and accurate ways to regularly check on student reading activity and assess skill development. With this information in hand, they can intervene quickly when needed, before students fall too far behind. They can plan instruction for a whole class, small group, and individual students that aligns with state standards while aiding in learning recovery. In short, they can accelerate learning in literacy.
Readers, like artists and athletes, do the work of growing: they practice. Reading provides independence, strength, and a voice to share your insights. Reading practice is central to building reading skill and the joy found in reading texts of your own choosing. Let’s grow!
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Literacy for all
Teaching students to read and helping them become lifelong, competent readers has long been a focus of educators across the globe. Now, with increased focus on learning recovery, high-dosage tutoring, and early intervention, more educators than ever are turning to technology tools to meet the needs of all their students.
Educators are looking for engaging texts and activities at the appropriate levels to help their students develop the skills they need. Students want to use materials that are interesting and fun, give them options that align with their interests, and provide support in case they struggle. Renaissance delivers all of this and more, allowing teachers to track and guide students’ literacy growth from the very earliest stages through their development into strong, confident readers.
Engage students in daily reading practice with a wide variety of authentic texts
Creating an environment where students have a wide variety of choice and access means powerful opportunities for their literacy to flourish. myON, myON News, Freckle, Lalilo, and Accelerated Reader provide both rich content and powerful motivation, where reading practice is something students enjoy —and teachers can monitor their progress to encourage more literacy growth.
- Provide choice so students can always find something to read that interests them with a wide and diverse set of books, articles, and quizzes available at multiple reading levels.
- Enable students to read anytime and anywhere with myON offline and low bandwidth access, and Accelerated Reader comprehension quizzes on books read in any format.
- Monitor progress regularly using reports, dashboards, and interactive tools that give teachers powerful insights for providing personalized feedback and meeting students’ needs.
- Encourage and excite students throughout their reading practice with reading recommendations, personalized goals, and progress indicators.
Move seamlessly from myON book to AR quiz
Make the most of every instructional minute to build key literacy and language skills
Personalizing reading skill-building ensures students are ready to thrive in their independent reading. Assessment-driven adaptive practice from Freckle and Lalilo accelerates literacy development by targeting the specific skills each learner needs to develop. Student-recorded read-alouds in myON enable students to improve their oral reading fluency.
- Know where to focus instruction with real-time student data that point teachers toward skills gaps, including standards-based reporting for visibility into students’ current proficiency levels.
- Emphasize grade-level Focus Skills that have the most impact on future growth to fast-track learning recovery.
- Provide comprehensive literacy instruction across each component of foundational literacy with Lalilo’s adaptive practice.
- Target anchor skills such as making connections and inferencing in Freckle for ELA Skills Practice.
- Build vocabulary and literacy skills with specialized Accelerated Reader quizzes and myON support features such as natural voice audio, dictionaries, journals, and highlighting tools.
- Get deeper insights into your students’ reading progress by listening to their recorded read-alouds in myON.
Motivate every learner to become a skilled and confident reader
No matter where students are in their reading progress, motivation and celebrating progress make a difference. Freckle, Accelerated Reader, and Lalilo encourage reading with simple rewards and attainable progress markers along the way. myON and Accelerated Reader boost agency by allowing students to choose what they read, empowering their reading progress.
- Students engage in learning activities and practice content that is “just right” for them with integrated placement from assessments to practice tools.
- Personalized reading recommendations let students choose from thousands of titles to find new books that excite them and match their unique interests.
- Age-appropriate rewards and recognitions help students gauge their own progress and maintain excitement about learning.
- Accelerated Reader combines assessment data with teacher input to ensure each student has accurate, personalized goals—to keep them on track and moving forward.
- Students work independently, with customized supports along the way, and can track their own growth and progress providing a sense of ownership of their learning journey.
Assess students’ reading development—and set personalized growth goals
Understanding students’ literacy development helps educators plan an appropriate pathway for accelerating learning. Star Assessments, including Star Reading, Star Early Literacy, and Star CBM Reading, provide reliable, actionable data about your students’ literacy development.
- Choose assessments that work best for you—20-minute computer adaptive early literacy and reading assessments or one-minute CBM measures.
- Complete universal screening (including for characteristics of dyslexia), regular progress monitoring, and individualized goal setting within your RTI or MTSS framework.
- Know which skills to target for instruction and practice and appropriately place students into reading practice tools with a single test score.
- Measure growth as compared to grade-level peers with Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) and track ongoing progress toward mastery of standards and skills.
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