Collaboration: A Call to Action to End The Literacy Crisis

We’ve all heard the sayings, “There’s no I in TEAM” and “It takes a village to raise a family.” Both are true and both are necessary in solving America’s literacy crisis and just perhaps, our cultural crisis as well. Specifically, as shared in Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook (8th Edition), “Two-thirds of students across the country scored below the ‘proficient’ level on reading tests administered in 2017” and that “reading scores have been stagnant for the past two decades.” We are clearly doing something wrong…but what?

I follow Christy Wright on Instagram (and am excited to navigate her Business Boutique book) and today, she shared a post that hit home. The post was about LIFE balance and how being 100% present wherever you are should be the goal. The many hats we wear in a day can be exhausting and now that many of us are living and working from home, everything is integrated and those important “brain breaks” or the time in between switching from one hat to another, are now gone.

In my last blog post, I shared the spark that emanated from seemingly independent events: my life-long passion of literacy/books and my son’s struggle with virtual school and our observation of his struggles. Had we not been fully present in our focused virtual school time from 7-8 am, 12-1 pm and 5-6 pm for the past 3 weeks, we would have likely missed out on the struggles he was experiencing. We likely would have rested on our ‘conditioning’ of him receiving As and Bs at school and wouldn’t have noticed the subtle signs that said ‘I’m struggling.’

Here’s the best part about the problem, about the struggle…we now get to find the solution. In the past few days, I devoured The Read Aloud Family which talked about the importance of reading aloud, something that has been engrained in our family since the birth of our two kiddos, but one that was flexible if we had to miss. Now, no longer. The impacts of reading aloud far exceed anything that would have replaced it previously. In reading “The Source: A Curriculum Guide for Reading Mentors” from FL DOE, they share that:

  1. Reading books out loud helps to gain understanding of more formal sentence structure
  2. Reading aloud and talking about what they have heard will help them to decode when they read individually.

I’m building my knowledge base utilizing the key experts in the field, incorporating my problem solving expertise, and collaborating with the little man who generated the spark, to figure out the source of his struggles. I’m observing our lessons, writing down ‘AHA! Moments’ and things to research and sharing those insights with him. I want him to be a part of the solution – you can’t change something if you don’t understand the stakeholders perspective, and he is THE key stakeholder.

My first call to action to you: find some time to read to your children as it is clearly one of THE BEST things we, as parents, can do for them to set them up for success. And two: share the struggles, share what works, what doesn’t and what you are struggling with. If we keep it in, we can’t find the source. Together, WE can make a difference!

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