When Jessica Hamman, the founder and CEO of Educator Learning Lab, used a teaching tool designed for dyslexic students with an adult learner, she found that the method worked, where others had been failing for years.
Called Structured Literacy, the tool is phonics-based and weaves in visual elements, such as uncovering syllables one at a time, Hamman writes in Edutopia. Groups including Slingerland and the Wilson Foundations have online lesson plans and outlines on how to use the method.
- Students may need up to 25 lessons to master a single concept, but the results work when teachers push forward only when learners are ready.
Reading is a fundamental skill that gives children access to all of the other content they will learn throughout school. Those who start 4th grade without knowing how to read “proficiently,” are “on the dropout track,” according to report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Applying the Structured Literacy method in elementary school could be one way to catch students who are struggling readers before they fall too far behind. The Casey Foundation's report notes that 3rd grade is the year by which students shift from learning how to read, to using reading as a tool to learn.
Curriculum administrators can find many online lesson plans that show teachers how to work the Structured Literacy approach into grades K-3. Putting this literacy method to use is just one tool for helping students to become capable and confident readers.