All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Background Knowledge

Knowledge begets knowledge. Students draw upon what they already know to master new vocabulary and content. The articles in this section discuss why background knowledge is so important and offer ideas you can use to build upon a student's knowledge.

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Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents

Alvermann, D.E. (2001). Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents. Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference.

Literacy must be redefined for the Net Generation. Strict print literacy in a subject area does not prepare students to respond to today's increasingly complex communications. Instead, literacy must be considered multi-faceted, and include hypertext and visual. Furthermore, the framework of literacy instruction must be reconsidered: what does struggling mean, how can digital literacy be transformed into academic literacy and the reverse. For today's adolescents, literacy instruction must be sensitive to multiple interrelated factors, including motivations and self-perception, and it must be embedded in the subject matter.

Still At Risk: What Students Don't Know, Even Now

(2008) ©Common Core. All rights reserved.

This report reveals some damning statistics about U.S. teens' lack of knowledge of history and culture. For example, one-third do not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of speech and religion and forty-four percent think The Scarlet Letter was either about a witch trial or a piece of correspondence.

The authors' attribute much of this ignorance to a curriculum focused on basic reading and math skills and preparation for high-stakes testing, but parental educational also has an impact on student knowledge-students with a college-educated parent scored significantly better than those without.

To Read or Not To Read

National Endowment for the Arts. (2007). To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence. Washington, DC: Author.

The National Endowment for the Arts assembled data on reading trends from more than 40 sources— federal agencies, universities, foundations, associations— to present an overview of American reading. Among the negative trends revealed: Americans are reading less and less well, and the progress in reading ability made at the elementary school level disappears when children become teens.

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