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Literacy and First Graders - Essay Example

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Literacy is a common concern in the United States. It seems unreasonable that children manage to graduate from high school, and are still unable to read. And yet, t is happening, all over. Literacy and reading readiness are issues of particular importance in early grades…
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Literacy and First Graders

Download file to see previous pages... Looking at literacy and reading readiness at the academic and scholastic level, it is much easier to see the current issues and concerns in literature.
Pre-reading skills are already considered to be of the most important in children learning to read quickly and successfully. These skills include, but are not limited to sight awareness of letters and common words, phonemic awareness, basic comprehension, writing skills, vocabulary, and word attack skills. Sight awareness suggests that children can fully recognize all letters in both lower and uppercase forms, and are able to recognize simple and common words (the, at, apple) regularly, with no assistance. This is perhaps the most crucial of all pre-reading skills, since children use this base to build vocabulary. Phonemic awareness is a child's understanding of what sounds a letter or a pair of letters makes, and how it can change from situation to situation. This recognition makes it possible for children to link a written and a spoken word in their mind. Basic comprehension deals with a child understanding what they have read or had read to them, and able to discuss what they have just read or heard. Basic comprehension skills are essential for successful readers, since it is not the ability to read a word, rather the ability to understand the word that is being tested. Writing skills are considered pre-reading skills, since they help children develop a physical understanding of how words are formed, and how letters are formed. Along with basic comprehension, writing is used to determine a child's literacy rate, rather than necessarily improve their ability to read. While increased reading has been proven to improve writing skills, there have been no recent studies suggesting that the opposite is true. Vocabulary is the words that a child knows, which help them to decode words that they are unfamiliar with. The greater a child's vocabulary, the greater chance they have of being successful in understanding a new word or idea. Vocabulary is built both through successful reading skills, and through comprehension of stories both read by the child and read to the child. Finally, word attack skills are the child's ability to look at a word and to successfully decipher its' meaning, in the context in which it has been presented. The more willing to attack a word a child is, the greater chance they have of succeeding. These skills are all necessary pre-reading skills, and are presented in Tivnan and Hemphill's 2005 study of literacy programs in high poverty areas. By looking at children from high poverty areas, and from minority groups, it is clear that literacy is still a primary concern for the educational community.
Children from low socioeconomic classes, particularly those from minority families, are at risk for developing poor literacy skills. These children enter school with less early literacy training, and are more likely to leave elementary school with an inadequate ability to read (Tivnan and Hemphill, 2005). Clearly, early introduction to pre-reading skills and literacy campaigns makes a significant difference in children's ability to excel at the reading task. Children from poor ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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