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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. HLE is multifaceted involving many aspects of literacy:
Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and to experience books above their reading skills.
Easy access to common words promotes sight word recognition as students see the words repeatedly.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students become storytellers by listening and questioning.
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.
With this interactive technique, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by listening and questioning.
Independent reading promotes reading development by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce language development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
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.
Connecting information to music and/or dance moves enhances 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.
Students with low early literacy skills benefit from a focus on phonics and Phonological Awareness.
Talking with students about what they know about the topic of upcoming work helps activate their Background Knowledge or reveals gaps.
Pretending allows students to step back from a problem or task and think about it from multiple angles.
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.
Students with strong early literacy skills benefit from a literacy-rich approach.
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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