Reason Four

Authentic Literacy

How often do our kids engage in meaningful and authentic literacy practice?

With all of the opportunities kids have to read and write at home and school, how often are our kids reading or writing simply just to fulfill the requirements of an assignment?

Phonics, decoding and perpetual memorization are all key parts of language development, but often lack the most essential component: teaching kids to love literacy and to independently explore the world through reading and writing. Literacy is exponentially more appealing when framed within the reality that it is essential to survival, a stepping stool to success and a lense through which to see a better world. When kids are practicing literacy within this framework their motivation is ignited by the journey rather than the prompt.

This is a significant point to bring up considering…

that 26% of the world’s adult population is non-literate.

that in America, 85% of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system cannot read well enough to perform daily tasks.

that multiple studies have proven that authentic literacy practice significantly impacts motivation to read and write and increases the expressive, critical and social nature of literacy reflections in both youth and adult learners.  (See Study).

We can just give our kids the tools to read. Or we can also give our kids the hunger to consume the world intelligently through reading and to give wings to their own thoughts through writing.

Our kids can read the newspaper, a recipe or a letter from a friend.

Our kids can write a song, an email, a petition, a poem or a play.

Our kids can dialogue with other kids in their classrooms and across the world.

Let’s not just give our kids words. Let’s give our kids a place to use them.


4 thoughts on “AUTHENTIC LITERACY – Why We Need

  1. this is really great! I volunteer at an elementary school with second graders and am convinced the students are not practicing literacy enough outside the classroom. It seems like what you are trying to do would give them that extra opportunity. However I wonder how something like this would work given the technology divide across the globe?


    • Ruthzee, thanks so much for the thought. We believe in our project deeper than we even thought we would because we keep finding more reasons it will be beneficial to kids (literacy included)! To answer your question, though, our goal is not to bridge the technology divide — because we don’t necessarily believe that the riches of this world lie in the jump onto the western ladder of success. Our goal is to give those currently disadvantaged and already in the westernized, teched out system to have a fairer chance at moving up the ladder. Does that make sense? Keep reading our blog!


  2. This is the best blog yet! I am a reader. It began when I was a child, not because my parents read to me every night but because I fell in love with the “other worlds” that they provided. As I grew I saw that hunger for “other places” morph into wanting to know about things, places, times. Technology provides our kids with these things with the tap of a few fingers on the keys. They can know everything about the world so quickly, but you are so right, having a place to talk with other kids about their new understandings could create thousands of “ambassadors!”


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