Elements of Effective Adolescent Literacy Programs

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will examine the components of a comprehensive adolescent literacy program, including techniques to make it relevant and motivating to students, instructional implications for teachers in all content areas, and program evaluation.

Elements of Comprehensive Literacy Programs

What does it take to build a successful adolescent literacy program? A literacy program is a comprehensive, school-wide commitment to helping students become successful readers. Successful literacy programs for middle and high schools address student motivation, metacognition, vocabulary instruction, reading and writing across all content areas, and program evaluation. Let's look at some specific components of a successful adolescent literacy program.

Relevance and Engagement

We know that reading is valuable not only across disciplines, but throughout social contexts, but do students? A fundamental aspect of building a quality literacy program is engaging the students. Motivation comes from positive or negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement refers to rewards that encourage students to repeat behavior. Positive reinforcement is a more effective motivator over time, compared to negative reinforcement, or punishment. Additionally, intrinsic motivators, which are produced within adolescents when they themselves want to learn, are more effective than extrinsic rewards, such as praise, recognition, and trinkets. Students find learning intrinsically rewarding when they are involved in the instructional decision-making process, the material is relevant, and the students are progressing. Let's take a closer look at how to use each of these motivators when developing your literacy program.

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