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Importance of Literacy | How To Be A Successful Teacher| Teacher Success| Successful Teacher Tips| Be A Successful Teacher

Importance of Literacy

by on August 29, 2011

Importance of Literacy

By: Lori Furgerson

“Students who are not reading at grade level by the end of first grade have a 1 in 8 chance of ever catching up”. (Juel, 1988, 1994).

This is a shocking statement and one that I really want you to reread to yourself. This shows how important it is that students are where they need to be by the end of first grade. If they aren’t, it takes a lot of extra time and money to get them where they need to be. Unfortunately, being in teaching for as many years as I have been, I have seen that this is true first hand. When I see children who are in 4th grade that are struggling with reading and I go back to their kindergarten data, it shows they were low then as well.

If a child doesn’t learn to read, it affects all of us. Illiteracy has a negative effect on the quality of life that individual has. They will only be able to get lower wage jobs and their access to important information regarding health, safety and general well-being is limited. An astonishing fact is that the state of Texas budgets for how many prisons they will need to build in the future based on the state reading assessments of 3rd graders. This shows the direct correlation between not learning to read and the future for these children.

The great news is that reading failure is preventable. Research has identified that there are seven key factors that influence reading development regardless of a child’s socioeconomic level. They are:

1. Development of phonemic awareness and of the alphabet principle.

2. The ability to decode words.

3. Automaticity with enough words.

4. Acquisition of vocabulary and the application of reading comprehension strategies.

5. Extensive reading of narrative and expository text.

6. Maintaining the motivation to learn.

7. Adequate teacher preparation and materials.

We as teachers need to make sure children in our class are getting the instruction they need. Teachers need to be aware of where their students are academically and it is the teacher’s job to get them where they need to be. Unfortunately, we can’t control what happens when they are not with us but we can control the six to eight hours they are with us.

Stay tuned for more ways we can guarantee the children placed in your classroom receive the instruction they need to be successful in life! You may be their only hope!


Lori Furgerson is a national literacy consultant who has provided technical assistance to school sites and professional development to teachers across the country.  She taught for 16 years in   three under performing schools with great success.  She has been a reading intervention teacher, as well as State Implementation Advisor to the state of Hawaii. Skillful use of a variety of core reading and intervention programs has allowed Lori to professionally shape leadership at the state, district, and local levels while increasing their instructional ability to successfully execute effective instruction. She works with teachers daily as an instructional coach and has a true passion for seeing them succeed and become the best they can be.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

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denny hagel August 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm

YES! I am thrilled that you are shining light on this sooo important topic! In my years I have seen far too many children either struggling or unable to read…amazing in this day and age that this can be possible!Thank you for all you are doing! :)


Michele August 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Dear Lori,
Thanks for you interesting article about reading and the consequences if we don’t teach out young to be successful readers. The thing about reading is that it really is the ticket to visit anywhere (in your mind) and can take you away from all of your troubles. That’s what I like best about it and really think if schools made reading aloud by the teacher a priority the children would understand that…and I mean all the way through school…right up into high school. Every time a child gets to close their eyes and visit the world as written by someone else and escape the everyday, it’s an opportunity to encourage kids to learn to read. As a mom of 3 sons, I had days over summer vacation where I literally read aloud for 5-6 hours a day if the current book was exciting!
I am grateful to you for encouraging teachers to reach out and help make this possible for their young charges. As you say, the teachers they have may be their only hope to enjoy success.


Tamarah August 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I agree! Reading is the key to a whole new world. Something I so want my children to use and enjoy!


Jennifer Bennett August 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Lori-what an eye opening post. I had no idea that the state of Texas budgets for prisons based on 3rd grade assessments. Yikes! It is so important that children learn the needed skills they need by the appropriate age. Thanks for the insight! Once again, a great article!


Anastasiya Day August 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Lori – great article! Thanks for sharing 7 key factors with us. So true if a child doesn’t learn to read, it affects all of us. Children are our future!


Solvita August 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Hi Lori, thanks for sharing the importance of literacy! It is vital for children to read and you are a great motivator for teachers to make the best approach to this subject.


Olga Hermans August 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hi Lori, it is hard to imagine that illiteracy is still in our society, but I believe it. That would be a totally different world, wouldn’t it? Great post, I appreciate to read how much you care for your students Lori!


Carol Giambri August 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Lori, excellent article and topic. Thanks for sharing. Amazed at how many kids (and a lot of adults) fall through the cracks. Very sad.


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