Teaching a child to read is the foremost goal of any school. Some would say it’s the most important thing anyone will ever learn; this is most definitely true. Schools across the nation strive to achieve excellence in reading education, known as literacy to those in the biz. These institutes of learning want to turn out students who read and read well, and some are recognized for these efforts. Arizona Public Schools are among them.
Several different corporations exist who, in part, recognize and award Arizona Schools who have gone above and beyond when devising a program or curriculum to help students achieve literacy. Arizona Schools have worked hard to ensure that its students have the opportunity to learn to read, and to take that knowledge to another level.
But what is literacy? It is being literate – which is so much more than just being able to sound out words and read aloud slowly. Being literate is even more than being able to read aloud with clarity and adequate flow. Literacy encompasses all manner of skills that many of us, as adults, are unaware we even have. We do not remember learning them, we just know them! As the teachers of Arizona Schools know, achieving literacy is mastering the following list of skills:
* Understanding and identifying the main idea
* Grasping cause and effect
* The ability to pick out the details that support the main idea
* Mastery of basic grammar – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns
* Knowing how to use punctuation correctly – periods, commas, question
* Recognizing the beginning, middle, and end of a story or passage
* The ability to identify setting (time and place the story occurs) and plot
* Being able to differentiate between main and supporting characters
Arizona Schools students learn all these skills, and practice them on a daily basis. They work to become well-read – literate. Arizona Schools teachers follow proscribed curriculum and design lessons to help them achieve this goal. Many Arizona Schools have been recognized for their excellence in literacy education.
Fifteen Arizona Schools were recently awarded $1,000 cash prizes by the McDonald’s Readers Are Leaders Award program. This program, available to Arizona Schools provides funding for the books and reading materials for school libraries to enhance book collections and offer titles that will make the students of Arizona Schools want to drop everything and read. Applications were judged on creativity, ability to make good use of books, and solid strategy for long-term reading promotion activities.
As you can see, excellent literacy programs help students achieve the literacy they are working towards. And, for some Arizona Schools, that effort pays off; in cash and recognition for their admirable efforts.