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Our Best Literacy Stories and Strategies to Celebrate National March Into Literacy Month

It’s March into Literacy Month — and at McGraw-Hill Education, we couldn’t be more passionate about empowering young learners around the world with the skills they need to explore, discover, and make their voices heard. Literacy is so important to the learning process: it’s foundational for all other subjects, and critical to promoting successful student outcomes. It’s also a major component of intellectuality, citizenship, and communication — after students leave the classroom, they have to be able to engage critically with texts, analyze arguments, and effectively communicate their own ideas. But teaching literacy isn’t simple, and it takes a community of passionate educators and instructional leaders working together to successfully arm all students with the literacy skills they need. So, in honor of March into Literacy Month, we’ve rounded up some of our best literacy stories and strategies, from literacy experts and educators across the country. Happy reading!

1. Four Reasons to Use the Balanced Literacy Approach

By Teacher and Guest Blogger Amanda Richardson

Elementary school teacher and balanced literacy aficionado Amanda Richardson outlines the benefits of teaching literacy through the “balanced literacy” framework, which combines whole language and phonics:

“Using the balanced literacy approach to teaching reading has made an immense difference in learning for my students.” — Amanda Richardson

2. Literacy Educational Leaders & Change Agents Meet in California

By McGraw-Hill Education Staff

When great thinkers and passionate educators come together with intent of empowering students, good things happen. Check out one of the literacy highlights of 2016: the McGraw-Hill Education California Literacy Symposium, featuring literacy leaders such as Dr. Vicki Gibson, Catlin Tucker, and Dr. Doug Fisher. In this blog, find slideshows and resources from the event:

3. What is the Summer Literacy Slide, and What Can We Do About It?

By McGraw-Hill Education Staff

Every summer, students leave the classroom and literacy instruction behind. When they return, they have often lost important skills, and instruction must be repeated. But as teachers and parents, there’s plenty we can do to ensure that our young learners practice literacy throughout the summer months:

4. An Educator’s Perspective on English Learners and Academic Language

By Guest Blogger and EL Specialist Joylynn Nesbitt

One of the biggest instructional challenges in arming every child with comprehensive literacy skills is the diversity of their needs. English Learners enter a classroom with a different set of literacy strengths than their peers. Read one educator’s advice for empowering them with command of academic language:

“…we, as teachers, need to teach them how to use and understand the content vocabulary in academic settings.” — Joylynn Nesbitt

5. The 7 “R”s of High-Impact Literacy: Ready

By McGraw-Hill Education Staff

Earlier this year, we released the Literacy is for Life eBook, which outlines the 7 “R”s of literacy: the key components of powerful, systematic literacy instruction. In this piece, discover the professional development focus of the plan, where the science of learning can be leveraged to empower the art of teaching:

6. The Librarian as an Instructional Partner

By Guest Blogger and Future Ready Librarian Kristen Mattson

Literacy instruction is most effective when students have multiple resources and support systems, and the opportunity to learn in a variety of environments. School librarians can be influential in curriculum decision-making, teaching digital literacy, and serve as a student’s doorway to a plethora of reading materials:

“I also recognize that there are many classroom teachers who have never, for whatever reason, been exposed to the power of a collaborative relationship with the school librarian and may not naturally seek him or her out.” — Kristen Mattson

7. Transforming Literacy Instruction in a Digital World: 4 Principles and Practices of Digital Rigor

By Linda Levine, Curriculum Specialist, McGraw-Hill Education

Curriculum specialist Linda Levine outlines top challenges literacy educators face in an increasingly high stakes environment, and strategies for using technology to implement rigor:

8. Advice for New EL Teachers: 5 Tips for Teachers Who Are Just Beginning their Journey with English Learners

By Guest Blogger and EL Specialist Joylynn Nesbitt

As a new EL specialist, you might feel overwhelmed, and unsure how to best serve your students. In this guest blog, EL teacher Joylynn Nesbitt provides her best advice for new teachers, including tech use, classroom set-up, and instructional tips:

“Use visuals and multimedia with every lesson in order to explain new vocabulary.” — Joylynn Nesbitt

9. Summer Literacy Strategies: Elementary

By McGraw-Hill Education Staff

Summer can be the perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to encourage the development of literacy skills through more creative, explorative, and active learning experiences. Here, we list 9 of our favorite summer literacy tips and tools specifically for elementary school students:

10. The “7” Rs of High-Impact Literacy: Relevance

By McGraw-Hill Education Staff

Another key “R” of the Literacy is for Life eBook is relevance. In this piece, we underscore the importance of a child’s relationship to a text, and how that relationship can drive instruction. Literacy is a personal process, both in learning to read and in the reaction to the text itself. Learn more:

A literacy educator’s work is never done. For more on McGraw-Hill Education’s commitment to literacy, visit:

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