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Unlocking Potential With Literacy Strategies

Literacy improves lives. That’s the guiding principle behind this teacher-friendly handbook that offers foundational teaching principles and step-by-step guidance.

Parents and educators play an important role in promoting literacy development in children. This includes creating a language-rich environment, reading aloud to them and providing writing opportunities. Technology can also enhance literacy engagement by offering interactive reading and storytelling experiences.


Phonics is the foundational skill that allows children to acquire letter-sound correspondences. This is essential for decoding and spelling, which are both necessary skills to build reading comprehension and fluency.

Educators can support students in developing phonemic awareness by providing them with activities such as rhyming games and listening exercises. These exercises will also help them learn to break words into their individual sounds or syllables, and they can practice this by using classic games like hop-scotch or decks of cards.

As students progress, instructors can introduce phonics instruction that focuses on high-frequency words (also known as common exception words) that aren’t decodable by purely sounding out letters. This includes crucial words such as ‘the’, ’one’, and ’where’. A strong knowledge of phonics can support students in tackling unfamiliar words as they become more confident readers. This is especially important for learners who struggle with language acquisition or processing information quickly. Moreover, it is a powerful tool for unlocking potential because it can help to accelerate learning by enabling students to skip steps in the decoding process.

Guided Reading

Reading comprehension is a complex skill that requires students to understand the words they read, process them and construct meaning across the whole text. This isn’t an easy task for even the most proficient reader.

To help students master this skill, teachers can use guided reading to provide small group instruction in classrooms. Guided reading groups are formed based on the teacher’s assessment of the students’ abilities, and these groups should remain fluid and flexible as children progress over time.

When a student is ready to move up to the next book level, he/she should be assessed again and then grouped into a new group based on his/her ability. The individualized instruction in these small groups allows for a deeper understanding of the text and allows students to learn reading strategies in an environment that’s comfortable, supportive, and relevant to their skills.

During these sessions, children should be encouraged to take notes about the text and the difficult words that they encounter so that they can discuss them with their teacher during the next class period. Having them do this regularly will increase their confidence and allow them to make faster progress.

Vocabulary Games

Vocabulary games are a fun way to keep students engaged and practicing their language skills. Whether you choose to use word matching games or vocabulary cards with definitions, games provide a unique and effective approach for your ESL students.

Try a vocabulary board scramble. Write review vocab on the blackboard and have two teams compete to see who can find it first. The team that circles the correct answer wins a point.

Another fun activity is a vocab game called Art Gallery. Draw enough squares on the board for each student to draw in and have the students name their squares above them. The teacher then calls out a vocabulary word and the student draws it in their square. The student with the most points at the end is the winner.

Try a vocabulary game with a twist, Video Bingo. Play a video on FluentU with the words listed before the video starts. Students can then use their vocabulary cards to mark the words as they appear in the video. The team who gets all the words on their card first is the winner.

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is a key skill that allows students to understand the meaning of written words. This process involves combining reading with thinking and reasoning. It includes a variety of strategies such as activating prior knowledge, making connections, determining importance, summarizing and visualizing.

As children grow older, they often need to develop new comprehension skills for content area materials and other complex texts. For example, a child who has a strong understanding of ocean-related vocabulary may be able to comprehend a text about sharks and reefs but may have difficulty with a text about ham radio operation or the Appalachian Trail.

Developing reading comprehension requires patience and practice, but it’s an essential skill that can help students unlock their potential. Whether it’s through a literature circle or by using word games, children can gain the tools they need to become proficient readers. This allows them to make sense of the world around them and to become more empathetic and understanding towards others.

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