What Is The Key To Student Success?


Written by: Ashley Green (cehdcomm@tamu.edu)
Post date: August 30, 2017

Literacy is the foundation for everything that we do. When we think about academic success, it is no surprise that literacy is on the forefront.

The question is, how can parents help ensure their child’s success? For Dr. Sharon Matthews, clinical assistant professor, the answer is simple – fun.

“We oftentimes think about reading as a chore. You’re going to sit down and do this. For parents and children, that becomes a task nobody really wants to do,” she explained. “We are constantly reading in some form. We’re already doing interesting things to help us be better at that chore. Rather than phrasing it as work, we should look at all of the things we already do in a family that are making us even more competent.”

Take going to a restaurant as an example. Dr. Matthews points out that you can have your children write a review for other families that may consider trying the restaurant. Has your child read a good book lately? Encourage them to find a movie based on the book and write a review for others about what they liked or did not like.

“There is a lot of literacy practice and a lot of critical thinking happening. It doesn’t feel like work,” said Dr. Matthews. “Those kinds of natural ways of approaching how to keep ourselves active, whether in the summer of during the school year, I think would be really helpful.”

If you are a teacher and are concerned about making sure your students succeed, Dr. Matthews says it is not about adding to what you are already doing; it is about taking what you are doing and infusing it with a literacy focus.

“Those literacy integration techniques like strategies, picture books, writing and presenting will help infuse literacy across everything. Teachers aren’t doing anything extra, they’re just recognizing the power of what they’re already doing.”

She also suggests focusing on the idea of visual literacy and using your classroom space for student support. What does that look like? Teachers can implement charts, diagrams and videos to make interactive word walls or other visual demonstrations for the concept being studied.

This gives flexibility in addressing questions with students by having them focus on different support areas in the classroom. Research also shows presenting information in multiple ways helps students because it engages multiple channels for processing the information presented.