Early Literacy:
Preempting the Digital Divide

Abstract:

It would make a great photo opportunity to give every child in the U.S. a computer – at least until the photographer noticed how many children could not read the screens. Even if the "have-nots" had access to computers, they couldn't use them -- until they learned to read. Only by committing to 100% literacy can we guarantee every child a future.

Society today demands that all children learn to read. No more excuses. But old techniques and programs can't do the job. With increasing numbers of children coming to school not knowing how to hold a book, never having been read to, not speaking English -- despite teachers' best efforts – 40% of our fourth graders still read below grade level.

In the fall of 1997, one bold school in Santa Clara, California, announced a program which guaranteed all entering kindergartners they would be reading at or above grade level by the end of second grade. The pledge took the form of a Warranty, signed by the principal, the teacher, the parent and the child. The "fine print" Terms & Conditions on the back of the Warranty spell out the responsibilities of family as well as school staff working with those children.

In the wake of major media attention (six front-page stories in The San Jose Mercury News), other schools around the country have adopted the Warranty program. Schools undertaking the commitment to 100% literacy have assembled and tested a variety of programs and strategies to reach even the most difficult children. The approach has been described as "guerrilla teaching -- using all the weapons in our pedagogical arsenal to win the battle against illiteracy.

Come hear what's working, specifically what technologies and practices have been most effective. Join those who have pledged that all kids will learn to read so they can access technology and other resources critical to their future.

Presentation type... keynote or breakout session
Audience................ K-12 educators
Duration................. 45 to 90 minutes
Handouts................ Early Literacy: Preempting the Digital Divide

Dr. Burmark will gladly tailor any presentation to your specific needs.