February 13, 2015
In your afterschool and expanded learning programs, you try every day to fit in as much fun and learning as you can, balancing all the competing demands. Y4Y staff know how busy your days are. Luckily, literacy can be worked into a program in many ways, big and small. Let’s go through the key building blocks of literacy to demonstrate some ways.
Many programs have found success with book clubs. Beyond providing risk-free space to practice the mechanics of reading and strengthen comprehension skills, book clubs boost motivation, which is critical for developing readers. To get everyone on the same page, visit Y4Y’s Book Club hub for ideas that will help your students become detectives or space explorers, visit other countries, travel to the past or future, and meet people who are very different but very alike, too.
In the special space of afterschool, writing needs to be more than sitting down and working in silence. Get your students super-charged about writing by involving them in fun and thought-provoking Pre-Writing Activities from Y4Y. They’ll be engaged in a topic and brimming with ideas, ready to write! To add another level of motivation, bring in a local writer or offer books written by people from your city or state.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening skills are gateways: they help students become better readers. One strategy that’s common in early childhood education works for all ages — it’s the Interactive Read-Aloud, which mixes a teacher reading to a group, students interacting with the teacher about the text, and students talking with one another to dig deeper into the content.
It’s easy to incorporate language skills into any program activity or project. Try some of the strategies on Y4Y’s Vocabulary Development page to reinforce language learning while your students are accomplishing other goals. Several strategies, like those that foster word consciousness, take very little preparation time and can be fun and casual to add into transition times or snack time. Some of the more formal strategies, such as a Vocabulary Collage or the Frayer Chart, would pair perfectly with a new thematic unit or a project you are already doing in your program.
Tip: Engaging families in literacy events is also a great way to build your literacy programming and make a positive impact on your community. Consider hosting a fun family literacy event. Use this checklist to ensure it’s well planned!
For more ideas to incorporate the key building blocks of literacy into your program, check out the Learn More Library’s wealth of resources.