Ten Guiding Principles
All students can learn. Teachers must believe that all students will learn. Having taught students with the attributes of learning disabilities, AD/HD, emotional/behavior support needs. Autism/Asperger syndrome, cognitive challenges and sensory support needs, it is evident that all will benefit from a literacy rich environment guided by clear principles that provide a backbone for learning. Dignity and respect for all learner abilities are embedded in the following principles:
- Student diversity strengthens a classroom and strengthens literacy due to educators trying
out a greater array of varied teaching and learning approaches.
- Do not make assumptions about the literacy of a learner. Everyday that I teach, a student
surprises me about his or her ability, strengths capacities and gifts.
- Focus on a learner’s abilities and possibilities, rather than disabilities and deficits.This is an
important concept in promoting literacy for all, since disability and deficit information do
not help an educator teach.
- Utilize innovative diverse learning strategies such as universal design, differentiated instruction,
cooperative learning, curricular adaptations, literature circles, educational technologies,
cross-age peer tutoring and peer mediation, all of which will promote literacy for all. Once the
door is opened, a wider learning spectrum is welcomed and greater learning success
- Use everything in education’s bag of tricks to promote literacy for all.
- All literacy approaches that help learners gain skills are valuable.
- Certain learners are more complex to assess and develop literacy support approaches for,
but the effort is entirely worth it. It is critical to always believe in all learners and to not give up!
- Utilize a collaborative team effort of varied approaches and input to share the responsibility
for a student’s literacy.
- Using a student’s interests, fascinations and passions in the curriculum will promote literacy.
- Making education work for all is what good teaching and quality literacy are about.
It is clear that this type of forward thinking, collaboration and effort will achieve meaningful gains in literacy and quality education for all learners.
Schwarz, P. (2008). Introduction for Holt, Winston & Rinehart Literacy Curriculum. Austin, Texas.