Creating Effective Literacy Instruction: An Expert Opinion

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Check Out the New Blog Researcher and teacher educator, Donna Alvermann wrote a white paper on ‘Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents’ that says that students’ needs and interests must be at the forefront when designing any type of literacy instruction. Effective literacy instruction builds on elements of both formal and informal literacies. Alvermann challenges teachers to critically examine the traditional classroom setting and look at a broad definition of literacy.

Some of her main points are:

  • Never underestimate the importance of building the student’s sense of self as a competent reader/learner.
  • Teachers must focus on building self efficacy and student engagement in all areas of learning across the curriculum.
  • Engagement and motivation are necessary conditions for learning to occur.

The following is directly quoted from her research:

Adolescents’ perceptions of how competent they are as readers and writers, generally speaking, will affect how motivated they are to learn in their subject area classes (e.g., the sciences, social studies, mathematics, and literature). Thus, if academic literacy instruction is to be effective, it must address issues of self-efficacy and engagement.

The potency of one’s beliefs about the self is phenomenal. In adolescence, it is the belief in the self (or lack of such belief) that makes a difference in how competent a person feels.

From Professional Learning Board’s online continuing education course for teachers: Tackling Tough Text

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