Who is Responsible for Literacy?

September 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Posted in uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Posted by Micah Moore

In this Literacy class, the majority of our time is devoted to going over various reading strategies teachers can employ to help students engage with whatever they are reading. There are all types of very useful strategies that can be used before, during, and after reading. But, when it all comes down to it the teacher seems to be the only one responsible for a student’s literacy after a certain point. If the student is having trouble reading, the teacher is often first to be blamed by the public. But, who else is responsible for that student’s literacy?

Donna Main of the Worchester County Times says in her article, Literacy is a shared community responsibility , that literacy is not just the responsibility of schools but the whole community. Main writes, “In fact, I believe that the success of our nation relies on strong reading skills, making literacy a shared responsibility for us all.” She talks about how a school in her area has very strong connections with the local libraries, and that they also participate in larger book clubs.

So I think as teachers, or future teachers, we should reach out and get the community involved with student literacy. Perhaps bringing up the overall community literacy will bring up student literacy levels as well. It would also give the community more of a stake in the education and literacy of young people in their community.

So my question is: What are some good ways of getting the community involved in student literacy? Are some ways more appropriate, or better than others?

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  1. Micah,
    I find your idea of the communities responsibility to be interesting. I have seen in many of communities where the local library has pushed literacy. But, I find the community idea to be even more inspiring when applied to the schools themselves. What about the school’s or even districts community and how they departmentalize this problem called literacy? If the communities within the schools are focused on supporting and growth of literacy wouldn’t the problem be fixed much more effectively. Not only would the students have more comprehensive support, but the student would have a larger vocabulary base and decoding techniques for all subject material. After looking at Peter’s post on text discussions, i found a math vocabulary section on his link. http://dww.ed.gov/see/?T_ID=23&P_ID=59&c1=1099&c2=1099&c3=1099
    In this program, the kept a journal of all the words learned. How helpful would that be when used in all subject areas? Its like create your own dictionary!

  2. Micah, I thought the article was interesting and insightful because we are used to thinking about literacy (and addressing literacy) from a localized perspective (either a classroom or individual students). Realizing that students take cues from their community to construct their behavior, interests, and world view helps us see how connected we all really are. Utilizing the community to instill in young readers that reading is critical in whether or not students adopt and appreciate reading and literacy skills. I believe the bulk of community-wide programs should be focused at elementary and middle school students, because that will help to inspire them to read at an early age. BOOK-IT was one of my favorite programs growing up. The genius of the program was that it rewarded reading with something that kids love (pizza), and got them recognition both inside the classroom and out among others in the community. I think programs like BOOK-IT can be utilized at the high school level with modifications such as: using scholarships and pizza as motivators, incorporating community service, growing partnerships between schools and public libraries, local businesses, and local sports teams. I think all of these approaches could be effective for increasing literacy at the high school level, if designed and implemented correctly. A great journal article for this topic of community responsibility in student literacy can be found here.


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