noun ?| ?lit·er·a·cy ?| \?li-t(?-)r?-sē\
The ability to read, write, listen, speak clearly, and think critically using print and digital materials across all disciplines. Literacy involves a continuum of learning, enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.
HISD’s approach to literacy is more than just a program or initiative—it’s a movement to turn around and end the literacy crisis in Houston. It starts by building a strong foundation in reading, writing, and speaking during the elementary years—ensuring every child is reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade.
As students transition to the secondary years, uniform strategies across all subject areas ensure they develop into proficient readers, independent thinkers, and effective communicators.
But we can’t do it alone. A key component of our literacy efforts include engaging families, community members, and businesses to become involved. All of us must become literacy leaders. The future of our children, our city, and our quality of life will be determined by this movement’s success.
Houston ISD Literacy by 3
Literacy by 3
In 2014, HISD launched Literacy by 3, a districtwide, balanced approach to elementary school literacy with the goal of having every child reading and writing with fluency at or above grade level.
As part of Literacy by 3, systematic strategies are applied by teachers at every elementary school every day to ensure that all students are exposed to phonics and word work, guided reading, independent reading, read alouds, and writing instruction.
In addition, all HISD elementary school classrooms are outfitted with a classroom library stocked with "just right books" that uniquely match a student’s reading ability. Students advance to a higher level in the library as their reading abilities grow.
Since the beginning of Literacy By 3 implementation, 70 percent of HISD third-graders passed the spring 2015 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) reading test–a two-point boost over the previous year. Nearly 30 HISD elementary campuses had double-digit increases in grade 3 STAAR reading scores.
In 2016, HISD’s Literacy by 3 initiative received a Magna Award, an honor designed to recognize school districts and their leaders for taking bold, innovative steps to improve the lives of students and their communities.
A balanced approach to literacy development builds the foundation of knowledge for strategic reading, writing, and critical thinking. Students need to read, write, think and speak every day in all content areas.
Literacy by 3
Houston ISD Literacy in the Middle
Literacy in the Middle
HISD is building upon the successful work of Literacy By 3 and working to ensure that students at the middle school level are exposed to authentic and purposeful reading, writing, and vocabulary study across all grades and core subject areas.
As part of Literacy in the Middle, teachers across all subject areas provide daily opportunities for students to go "beyond the text" and have meaningful conversations with their classmates to develop critical thinking and communication skills.
This approach includes four key components:
- Read Alouds: Students engage in teacher-facilitated models of thinking and reading in order to think critically about texts, articulate and support ideas around concepts, and build comprehension of fiction and expository texts.
- Small Group Instruction: Students engage daily in small group instruction using grade level and personalized texts to advance their literacy skills while also engaging deeply around disciplinary content.
- Independent Reading: Students engage in reading self-selected and assigned texts at their own pace to expand comprehension of increasingly complex texts.
- Writing Instruction: Students engage in authentic writing tasks in each subject to extend their understanding and to provide evidence of understanding.
As part of the program, schools receive additional classroom materials and classroom libraries to provide more access to literary resources for their students.
In addition, middle school teachers in all core content areas receive training on how to incorporate reading, writing and communication opportunities for students as part of everyday classroom instruction.
Literacy in the Middle aims to expand the quality and quantity of time middle-school students spend reading authentic texts, and then following up with personalized instruction and academic writing.
Literacy in the Middle
Houston ISD Read Houston Read
As a Read Houston Read volunteer, you can help a child develop a love for reading by sharing a book with them. Do it online or in person. It only takes an hour of your time each week during the school year to instill a lifelong love of reading in a student.
Read Houston Read