Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a manner that allows one to communicate effectively and make sense of the world. Literacy skills are not only critical for core academic subjects they are essential skills for a successful life. More than any other single skill, the ability to read and read well allows a child to succeed in school, learn about the world, function in a democratic society, and someday have the prospect of substantive employment. As Pennsylvania educators’ it is our responsibility to promote literacy through effective practices in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
According to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 31 percent of all fourth graders scored below basic in reading and another 33 percent scored at the basic level in reading. This means only 36 percent of our nation’s students are reading at a proficient or advanced level. Moreover, racial and economic gaps persist and most students with disabilities face even greater challenges. Beyond the academic impact, it is also important to note the devastating social and emotional impact reading challenges have on children. We must do better for our students.
Students with specific learning disabilities and other language-based disorders often have as the hallmark of their disability, great difficulty learning to read. However, regardless of the etiology of reading difficulty, most students can learn to read given appropriate, systematic reading instruction. The research strongly supports that 95 to 98 percent of our students can learn to read with effective core classroom instruction and supplemental tiered interventions.
The reality of the importance of literacy skills drives the PaTTAN Literacy team to improve literacy outcomes for ALL students through the provision of evidence-based practices, resources, training, and technical assistance for Pennsylvania’s schools and educators.