5 Literacy Tips Straight from Elementary Educators

Thursday, January 14, 2016 -- Madison Michell

At Edmentum, we do our due diligence to stay abreast of the latest twists and turns in the education industry. Just as we listen and gain insights from leading education organizations and research institutes, we also recognize that there is much to be learned by getting to the heart of the matter and into the classroom.

With this in mind, in October of 2015, we turned to our customers who are elementary educators and asked them to share tips and best practices for teaching early literacy skills. Keep reading to check out a few of our favorites, along with resources to help you implement these best practices in your elementary classroom!

1. “Phonics are the first step. Students must have a solid understanding of phonics and letters in order to attain higher-level skills.”

—Heather Hale, Second Grade Teacher

Fourth District Elementary School, GA

For young students, literacy education begins with learning their ABCs. As blends, digraphs, and other unusual spelling patterns are integrated into the mix, the minutia of the English language can start to feel a little overwhelming. Friendly and readily accessible reminders in the classroom can serve as easy reference points for your students as they practice and perfect these skills. Check out these free literacy posters from Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress to display in your classroom.

2. “Centers are key when working with younger children. They learn many social [and] emotional skills, and they also learn how to teach others. If you can teach someone else what you already know, you are not only helping that person but also helping yourself.”

—Rebecca Dietz, Kindergarten Teacher

Paterson School 6, NJ

The beginning of a new semester can be the perfect time to ramp up your students’ excitement about reading and dedicate more class time to practice by using learning centers. This guide to literacy stations can help you define, set up, and implement productive centers in your classroom. If you’ve long been a fan of Gail Boushey and Joan Moser’s approach to literacy rotations, check out our The Daily 5 Literacy Framework: A Guide to Best Practices.

3. “Teach students in many different ways, including using technology like Reading Eggs! After all, we are living in a digital age! Why not teach students in a way they need to use in their future!”

—Amy Mages, Kindergarten Teacher

Cedar Mountain Elementary School, MN

Edmentum’s foundational learning programs, Reading Eggs and EducationCity, offer online literacy resources that bring learning to life for your pre-K through 6th grade learners. Take them for a spin by sampling these free activities or starting a free trial today.

4. “It is important to teach students how to become effective readers by teaching them reading strategies that they can employ in their direct reading.”

—Alex Elbert, Fourth Grade Teacher

Shaull Elementary School, PA

While there are many different strategies to note, one that often motivates educators to search for fresh and engaging ideas is vocabulary lessons. Across teaching in math, science, social studies, and particularly reading, vocabulary is the backbone of making meaning out of new concepts. Before your students begin grumbling over another vocabulary quiz, try out these 5 ideas for groan-proof vocabulary lessons.

5. “Keep it fun and encourage and praise as you demonstrate your own love of reading.”

—Jeanne Huml, First Grade Teacher

Stetsonville Elementary School, WI

One of the most exciting aspects of educating students at this age is the amount of growth you can see happen in a very short time. There are so many daily “wins” in the formative years—make sure that you’re celebrating and encouraging your learners along the way. Check out our Pinterest board for lots of great strategies to help them set meaningful goals and track their progress.

As we extend a sincere thank you to our customers for sharing their educational insights, we leave you with one final thought from Anna Frank, School Operations Administrator at Manatee Charter School in Florida: “Keep at it. The mind is a sponge waiting to soak up information.” Keep up your great work, educators!

Looking for more tips and best practices for teaching elementary literacy? Check out our ever-growing Pre-K–6 Reading & Literacy Pinterest board for some fresh ideas. Want to learn more about Edmentum’s online solutions for early literacy? Explore Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress!

Follow Edmentum's board PreK-6 Reading & Literacy on Pinterest.