Practicing Literacy

[MORNING PAGES 4/21/16]

Literacy is the foundation of everything we learn; if we are not able to read, write, think, and speak, we are not able to learn.

So, specifically, how do you teach literacy? What does that look like?

To me, teaching literacy is about practice, kind of like teaching; you can read all the theory you want, but until you’re up there doing it, you have no idea what it’s like. Same goes for literacy — talking about it will only take you so far.

So my students are going to write everyday (hopefully). They’re going to write uninterrupted for 10 minutes, not worrying about spelling or grammar or syntax — those will be taught with the more formal assignments. But for 10 minutes a day, I want them to just be worry-free writers.

I also want my students to read all the time. This, of course, is just a dream, but I can make sure my students read once a week, even if it’s just for 20 minutes in my room.

They’re also going to speak — a lot. To me, to each other, their families, other classes and teachers, whoever — they’re going to articulate their ideas out loud in person to someone all the time. I want them to have that skill when they leave my class.

And because of all this talking, they’re going to learn to be active listeners — responding thoughtfully and suggesting ideas of their own. Listening is a valuable skill that often goes untaught and I plan to teach it explicitly.

To sum up : literacy requires practice. And my students will have tons of it.

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