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A student's Home Literacy Environment (HLE) is the environment parents and caregivers provide to help them gain early literacy skills. Children who develop early literacy skills before starting school by talking to and reading books with caregivers often learn to read in school more easily and quickly. Providing extra classroom supports and resources for families that strengthen the HLE can help create an equal foundation for all students.
HLE is critical for growth in early literacy skills before a child enters kindergarten as many children's books have more diverse Vocabulary and complex Syntax than children hear in typical conversation. HLE is multifaceted involving many aspects of literacy and print exposure, including:
Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and to experience books above their reading skills.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students become storytellers by listening and questioning.
When teachers provide explicit instruction in comprehension strategies and model when to use them, students learn how to flexibly apply them to make meaning of texts.
As students are learning to read, they benefit from explicit, systematic phonics instruction.
Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition.
Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Games help students visualize how to connect one fact to another.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Easy access to high frequency words promotes sight word recognition as students see the words repeatedly.
Imagining allows students to step back from a problem or task and think about it from multiple angles.
Independent reading promotes reading development by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce language development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
Literacy centers with reading games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex reading skills and social interactions.
Providing physical representations of concepts helps activate mental processes.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Teachers sharing text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections models this schema building.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their reading work.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
A parent evening meeting about how to support literacy at home with one follow-up meeting with each family has shown strong results for students' reading development.
Reading aloud allows students to hear and practice reading and fluency skills.
Talking with students about what they know about the topic of upcoming work helps activate their Background Knowledge or reveals gaps.
Reading aloud regularly exposes students to new and familiar vocabulary and texts.
Reading aloud books about skills children are learning provides another model for their development.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Students build their confidence and skills by reading and rereading books.
Books for vision differences support reading development for learners with visual needs.
Books of varying complexity and reading levels are necessary for all students to experience reading success.
Multicultural and diverse books are critical for supporting all students.
With rhyming and creative word use, poetry is a genre that supports the development of early literacy skills in particular.
Students who have had little exposure to the school's language can benefit from having books in their Primary Language in their classroom.
Books with SEL topics, such as developing friendships and identifying emotions, help teach these skills.
Providing students a voice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful.
Students develop reading skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.
Word sorts are multisensory activities that help learners identify patterns and group words based on different categories.
A word wall helps build Vocabulary for reading fluidity.
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