Want To Drive Student Achievement? Practice Literacy Skills
The Classroom

Want To Drive Student Achievement? Practice Literacy Skills

JJ Janikis
Sep 1, 2023

Every opportunity to read is an opportunity to practice literacy skills. Think about that.

It doesn’t matter whether your students read a word problem in math class, a novel in ELA, or a primary source document in social studies. Anytime they’re reading, in any subject, it’s a chance to introduce, practice, or reteach literacy skills.

Setting skills practice routines helps you make these learning moments second nature for students. 

Two of our Newsela Fellows, Brian Krause and Tanisha Boyd, have seen just how critical it is to incorporate regular skills practice in the classroom—in all subjects.

As Fellows, Brian and Tanisha committed to a yearlong quest to drive more teacher and student engagement with Newsela in their districts. During that time, they completed capstone projects to show how their training positively impacted student outcomes. You can use them, too, to plan lessons.

Brian is an instructional technology coach for the Learning Technology Center of Illinois (LTC). His project, Literacy Across the Curriculum, aimed to create cohesion across curriculum resources, practices, and strategies. Brian hoped that better Newsela implementation in all subjects would help teachers in the same grade band plan lessons. He also thought it would encourage better student access to the tool.

“One of my favorite moments of the project came when student growth occurred and teachers showed their excitement for students ‘getting it.’” Brian said. “Recall and retrieval in later lessons, bringing in prior knowledge and experiences into new ideas, making predictions on what might occur, all of the things you want in an ideal lesson and with student engagement.”

Better planning across the curriculum and within a grade band makes it easier to ensure students get literacy skills practice in every class—not just in ELA.

Tanisha is a literacy instructional leader for Mobile County Schools in Mobile, Alabama. In her over 20 years in education, she’s taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels. Her project, Intentional and Purposeful Usage of the Newsela Binder, helped teachers understand the best ways to use assessment information in the Newsela binder.

“My project goal was to have more teachers use the Newsela binder data for assessing student learning… [and] to target literacy skills instruction,” she said.

When teachers understand how to track and analyze student assessment data, they’re better equipped to understand what students know, what they’ve learned, and where they need extra support to build valuable literacy skills.

Check out our literacy skills webinar to learn even more about how to implement skills practice with Newsela in your classroom. Highlights include:

  • Resources to use Newsela to include literacy skills practice in your weekly lessons.

  • Pro tips to track and assess literacy skills practice in all your classes.

  • Peer examples of how adding literacy skills practice to your lessons drives achievement and reading comprehension.

After you watch the video, download more resources to start planning your own lessons!

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