Tips For Launching A District-wide Phonics Program
by PRP Group, on 08/26/2021
Over the course of a few years here at Lumpkin County Schools, our leadership team began to realize that literacy was a root cause of many challenges in our district. We serve a large proportion of economically disadvantaged students, as well as a significant percentage of English language learners (ELLs). It was important to see all of our students growing in terms of their reading ability, but due to the low numbers, we often couldn’t sustain the cost of a pull-out program. In the end, we launched a district-wide phonics initiative that meets the needs of both diverse learners and teachers. Here are a few keys that helped us create and implement a plan to address literacy issues in all of our grades and schools.
Understand Students’ Circumstances
There are so many factors that can contribute to a student’s challenges. Is it their home life? Are they hungry? Are they worried about why mom didn’t come home last night?
If kids are worried about issues like that, they may not have a ton of energy left over to focus on instruction or phonics practice. We have to know their strengths and weaknesses and the circumstances that helped create them so that we can help in the appropriate ways. We have to know our students and develop a relationship with each of them to break down barriers. It is important to know not only a student’s name but what he or she is interested in as well. Developing a school community where all students are valued and appreciated is important. We have to have a heart for these kids first before we can dive into any kind of instruction.
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