Schools and Districts Support for Adolescent Literacy

There are many students today faced with the challenge of reading their books or even understanding what they read. This makes the students experience difficulties in understanding most of their subjects in school like mathematics, science and others as they are also guided by the reading skills (Corporation, 2010). This is evident due to the low grade student’s score, and this puts the various institutions, like schools and districts in a bad state of affairs. This is because the various professionals taking care of students are not proud with what they do as the result of their work is never pleasing, and may attract criticism. Most affected students lack proficiency and their reading skills are unusually low requiring help from all quarters. The schools, therefore, must continue to encourage their students to be responsible and continue exercising how to read and write properly if they are to be successful in the various professions later in life. However, the success of students cannot be left to schools only and should continue outside the facilities with everyone in the student’s life putting an effort to encourage and motivate them (Berman, 2009).

Adolescents should, therefore, be encouraged to continue with their studies as the numbers of illiterates increasing as compared to other countries and poverty levels. Schools and districts should be in the frontline when such issues are to be dealt with, and better policies developed to cater for the various challenges faced. People may have different explanations of why more than a third of the American adolescent students rate poorly in their literacy levels. This paper will try to focus on what the different schools and districts can do if they are to improve the literacy level of adolescent in the different communities.

Adolescent Literacy
Adolescence literacy is all about how well the adolescent can read instructions mainly in grades four to twelve. This is a very crucial stage and most district policy makers and institutions need to concentrate on how they can save their students. Most of the students in the lower grades have been taught how to read, but this is not encouraged in the higher grades as the students are taught how they can concentrate on the various subjects and pass their exams (Ehren, 2009). The switch from learning how to read to reading to learn is a challenge to many students as there is no much concentration in this area by the teachers. This is why most institutions should put more efforts in the adolescent students. Most students in the higher grades are said to be able to read, but comprehending or processing the information has been a problem. The schools are, therefore, mandated to change the way through which they teach so that the shift can be smooth (Marchand-Martella et al., 2013).

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The US is facing challenges in the area of literacy with other countries performing better like the Koreans, Greece, Brazilians and others. The level has increased since 1992 and in 2007, only thirty one percent of those assessed for proficiency levels in the eight-grade performed. Additionally, twenty four percent of those assessed in the twelfth grade in writing skills scored above proficiency. This shows that the issue has affected the US in a big way, and there must be stiff interventions to rescue the US adolescent students from the menace (Berman, 2009). Moreover, adolescent from the rich families have been found to perform well as compared to poor families and mostly the white perform better that the African American or other groups in the US. This is because these families are able to take their kids to better schools or hire coaches who are able to take personalized care to the students. On the other hand, there are students that are fast learners while others are slow, which makes it difficult for the switch.

Another problem that has led to poor literacy of the adolescent is the preparedness of workers or the teachers (Marchand-Martella et al., 2013). Most of the workforce in schools is relaxed as they expect the students from lower grades to have received the required information thereby expecting the students to be educated. Some teachers always instruct according to what they understand or how they were taught thinking that they are doing the right thing. This is a problem because there are different changes that have taken place around them like technology, which requires better preparation if the students are to understand better. The problem of literacy continues to college levels, and some students are required to take some remedial courses because of their poor skills. These are some of the challenges that are hindering adolescents from gaining the required knowledge vital for their future development (Berman, 2009).

Areas Where Adolescent Need To Be Educated
Word study
This is a type of literacy where the students are required to develop skills that enable them identify some words and become proficient while reading the words (Corporation, 2010). They also learn some common words which make it easier to understand and read these words. Learning of the skill is important as it helps students’ memorize many words which is vital for their learning experience, and understanding the meaning of these words. Schools at this level should teach the students the various strategies of breaking some of the words into parts so that it becomes easier for the students (Marchand-Martella et al., 2013). Some of the strategies that may be adopted here are like breaking the words into syllable types that make it easier to read. The words become easier for students to decode and it is important to those in middle and high school levels. The schools must, therefore, concentrate on teaching their students this skill as it makes it unproblematic to understand the meaning of the various words.

Most students practice being fluent in their reading, which means that they must possess the ability to quickly, accurately and properly read the various contents availed to them. This skill is fundamental as when the students are able to read fluently; the issue of understanding the content is somehow eliminated (Ehren, 2009). This is because most of their time is not spent on decoding words or trying to read but understanding what words they read means. Teachers and the various institutions, like schools and district facilities, should concentrate on guiding the students through various techniques of becoming fluent in their reading, like repeated reading that make them decode words easily. Repeated reading means that students are encouraged to read the same material several times, but the vocabulary level should be in line with the level of study. In so doing, the students later learn new vocabularies and avoid struggling with becoming fluent, therefore, succeeding due to the continuous reading.

Most of the students struggling with learning the various skills lack motivation from teachers or those around them (Marchand-Martella et al., 2013). This is crucial as most students are encouraged and become skilled learners developing their various skills and strategies. On the other hand, those struggling with reading various vocabularies may become challenging if they are not encouraged as they may feel dumb or unwanted and may think that they will never make it. In this area, teachers should encourage the student to read some content or use some of the materials that are intriguing to the students like story books or short novels (Ehren, 2009). To add to this, teachers should interact with students directly or encourage them to enter the different social groups that are essential in encouraging them to continue reading or improve their reading. This is a soft way of encouraging students to continue their reading and thereby becoming literate as compared to other strategies. It is also not left to teachers only and can be done by other people in the society as there are no vital skills required. This should also be used together with other strategies as motivation may never work alone (Pitcher et al., 2010).

Improving Adolescence Literacy
The daily running of educational institutions is left to those fully experienced in the systems, and the policy makers have a limited role in this process (Pitcher et al., 2010). However, this does not mean that they are never involved in the running process as they are concerned with policy making process that is vital in ensuring the correct practices are adopted. These policy makers ensure that they enact laws and that they are well implemented. This is mostly undertaken at the various districts levels because the authorities are also concerned with the illiterate levels of their adolescent students (Berman, 2009).

One of the ways that literacy among adolescents can be improved is through the avoidance of inoculation strategy where reading is only taught to younger children (Corporation, 2010 and Alexandria, 2006). The departure from this strategy may help all the people from the different levels, like the slow learners, who can be helped to learn the skills of reading even during the later grade levels. Although the skills learnt up to the fourth grade are indispensable for the development of the student later, they are not enough and should continue as various things are changing in the environment (Weldon, 2010). This is because the various studies have shown that there must be a follow up if the adolescent students are to perform better around the world (Berman, 2009).

Secondly, institutions should encourage other teachers from different departments to help the students in the various fields even if the subjects are out of their field (Pitcher et al., 2010). This is because those in fields like sciences, mathematics or others concentrate too much on what they are doing and some of them may have helped in improving the conditions of the students in becoming more literate. They might help in encouraging students to read whenever there is a reading to be done in their lessons, or motivate them to put more effort in reading different materials (Corporation, 2010). Many teachers may be resistance in diversifying their lessons to different fields, like literacy, due to the specific time they have. The various districts should encourage this strategy as it is vital for the growth of the kid as a whole. Some of the districts have adopted the strategy and policy makers should create laws that encourage this kind of behavior although they may face some resistance. Some say that they have extremely limited time to cover the syllabus while others say that they are not qualified in any other area.

In addition, the various policy makers should continue making laws and policies that are vital in developing the literacy skills of the adolescent students (Morrell, 2010). These are like training literacy coaches that would help the teachers in impacting the reading skills into the students (Ehren, 2009). This is because the teachers are always in a hurry to follow what is in the curriculum, and some coaches from outside may increase the level of material read by the students per year, which is an admirable thing in ensuring that the students are well prepared to join other levels of education where the skill is little taught but widely used. There are those who join the colleges, and after they are given a lot of work to read, they become shocked because they are not used to such large contents. It is, therefore, important that the coaches encourage the pupils to continue reading as this will improve their literacy and they will find learning easier at their later stages in school (Weldon, 2010).

Moreover, there should be proper development of the teaching profession so that it becomes compulsive and hence maintain teachers in class. This is because there are many teachers leaving the profession and joining others that are less cumbersome and engaging (Corporation, 2010). There should be better pay to the teachers and encourage them to work overtime with best packages. On the other hand, teachers joining the different colleges should be well qualified so that the quality of trained teachers is high and competitive enough with other professions. This will ensure that the outcome in class is attractive, and people can be well taught to match or even be better than those in other countries (Alexandria, 2006).

Finally, all the people in the districts must fully support the various programs as they are very essential for the growth of the adolescent. The support may be through monetary and other areas which make it possible for schools and other education institutions function smoothly. The other supports may be like development of various plans required in making the school function and there should be summits and meetings developed to create awareness to the different parties concerned (Corporation, 2010). This would make every party aware of the problems in details and how they can help to handle them at different levels and places. The community is also encouraged to motivate their adolescent student to read widely and join social groups, which would make them courageous to read and talk in public. These strategies may help the adolescent grow their literacy levels and become students who are able to read and learn and not those learning to read (Berman, 2009).

Case study
Hopkins West Junior High
Over the years, there has been a significant development experienced in this school due to its visionary leaders. There are many students in the school from the 7th grade to the 9th grade. There are about eighty three percent White students, eight percent Black students and the others occupying the nine percent. Over the years, there has been a wide gap experienced between the literacy performance of the students due to poverty or color. Most Blacks always dragged behind their white counterparts, and the administration had to look for solutions. This portrayed a poor image and the management looked for ways to change it quickly. In the first place, they were to involve all the kids indiscriminately and infuse it into their culture. This encouraged the teachers as they developed these skills benefiting the kids in a big way. This became one of the strategies adopted by the school and was able to harmonize the results by improving the condition of the Blacks and the poor kids Carnegie (Corporation, 2010).

It is evident that schools and districts can play a major role in improving the literacy level of adolescents in the US and around the world in general. This is because there are many different areas requiring changes, and the US adolescent students need to move up and be leaders. This calls for the establishment of laws and policies in the various districts aimed at making it mandatory for the changes to take effect. The schools are one of the institutions that a big part of these policies to be adopted. This is because students here learn the various skills and are guided to be analytical and able to decode the various messages.

It is, therefore, very important that the teachers adopt new strategies of dealing with the student and those teaching different lessons involved also. Reading is vital for the students as it shows how ready they are to move to the different levels of education as the higher levels may need the skills. This should continue at higher levels to make it easy for the student change to read to learn state which is highly required. The whole community must try and play their role in ensuring that all students are taught accordingly.

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