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Growing Reading and Literacy Issues in Today’s Classroom

August 19th, 2013by admin

classroomReading is the most critical skill that an educator can teach a student, as it opens the door to all other types of learning, and is a vital skill for any person who wants to live a normal, productive life in society.

Reading is also one of the most difficult skills for some students to learn and can prove to be a stumbling block especially for students in their elementary years. This is why they have reading specialist degrees online for current teachers and involved parents.

As the modernization of classrooms continues, learning disabilities are better studied and understood, and new teaching methods are developed to enrich the learning experience, reading and literacy issues in today’s classrooms are being dealt with and overcome in exciting, new ways. So, what are some of the issues that hold students back in reading and literacy learning, and how are educators dealing with them?

ESL – One of the most common stumbling blocks for both students and teachers arises when English is not the student’s first language. This can be especially an especially frustrating issue, as the student may have a strong desire to learn, and the educator may be eager to teach, but communication between them can be difficult. More and more, schools are hiring educators who are able to communicate in multiple languages, in order to bridge the communication gap between students and teachers. In cases in which a student is learning English as a second language, it also helps to begin the student’s reading and literacy education at as young an age as possible. Young minds are for more adaptive to changes in language, and the process grows more difficult – though certainly not impossible – as students get older.


Time Spent – Though it may seem obvious that school students should spend much of their day reading and writing, the simple fact is that many don’t. Some teachers feel the need to fill the day with extra activities that relate little to reading and writing. Students do, of course, need fun diversions from time to time if they are to stay engaged, but the scales should be tipped far more in the direction of reading and writing than in the direction of “other stuff.” Though spending a lot of time reading and writing can be difficult, especially for students who are already struggling, it is still the best way for them to learn the necessary skills. A patient, helpful, understanding educator can manage reading time for all students effectively, while providing extra help for those in need.


Reading Levels – A critical aspect of teaching literacy skills is to recognize where each individual is in the learning process. This can be a particularly prickly issue in elementary classrooms, as teachers struggle to keep the more advanced students engaged, while providing the extra help necessary for those who are struggling. The first step in determining a student’s reading level is to administer an assessment test, of which there are many available to educators. By understanding each student’s reading level, the teacher can develop an optimal strategy for helping the student learn literacy skills. In many settings, educators are able to create groups of students at different levels within the classroom, and then provide material which is both suitable and stimulating for each group.


Technological Distractions – Modern students have access to all manner of distracting technology – smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming devices to name a few. Though there is valid concern that the style and proliferation of modern technology is leading to shorter attention spans, the best way to handle the “technology problem” is by embracing technology as a teaching tool. Of course, it’s no good for students to be playing games or texting during class, but there are many applications available that aid in teaching. Embracing technology is a twofold win for the educator, as it allows them to better connect with students of all ages, and to implement new, richly interactive technological teaching tools.


Learning Disabilities – Many learning disabilities that used to go unrecognized and untreated are now being properly identified in students. Though each type of learning disability presents its own hurdles for student and teacher, there is a wealth of information available for how to best treat students with learning disabilities. It’s important for the teacher to handle these matters on a case-by-case basis, and to remember that even if a student is struggling, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not trying.

Though there are many issues in modern literacy and reading education, there are also many solutions. By providing students with stimulating texts to read, embracing technology as a teaching tool, identifying and adapting to student reading levels, and taking care to identify and treat those with learning disabilities the modern educator, as well as the informed parent, has many tools at their disposal with which to teach the invaluable skills of reading and writing.


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