Learn more about Foundational Literacies Foundational LiteraciesLearn more about New Literacies New Literacies




It is wonderful you are here! Clearly, you are among the many parents who understand the importance of literacy. In order to fully understand the challenges your children face with regard to learning in any of the content areas- math, science, social studies etc., it's helpful to first engage in a quick activity.

Foundational Literacy Activity

Before you peruse any more of this site, please choose a link from below, read a portion of the text with the purpose of understanding and remembering the information contained within, and then return here promptly. To make the best choice on which link to follow, please choose the topic or area about which you have the least experience reading:

Physics -Click Here (website)

Law -Click Here (website)

Math-Click Here (website)

Economics-Click Here (website)

When we have little prior knowledge on a subject and/or little experience reading about a certain type of information, understanding and remembering that information is challenging and often frustrating. In order to understand challenging text, we employ a variety of strategies to which we refer to as "foundational literacies." The links above were meant to be challenging to adults in order to illustrate a point. They are not examples of what your children are reading. However, your children may experience similar feelings when reading challenging materials in their classes and should certainly use similar strategies to support them. Recognizing those challenges, the goal of our work at the University of Connecticut, with the support of Carnegie Corporation, is to enhance instruction in content area classes in order to support adolescents in their literacy achievements and understanding of content area materials. While you accessed the above texts on the Internet, they were in traditional formats that could be found in a text book or print journal. Reading or comprehending on the Internet in most instances, requires an additonal set of skills which we refer to as "New Literacies."

New Literacies Activity

Let's take another few minutes to get a feel for the new literacies.  The links below will connect you to a variety of Internet sites.  Consider the challenges your child might face while searching for reliable information. 

The Science of Male Pregnancy (website)

The Onion-America's Finest News Source (website) Warning!  THIS SITE MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT COULD OFFEND. 

Are these sites reliable?  How do you know?  Would your child consider the site reliable?

We have been using this site with seventh graders to examine their ability to read on the Internet:
Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (website)

We are finding that students, while able to state, "you can't trust everything you read on the Internet," demonstrate trust in this hoax site.  Clearly there is a need to teach ways of assessing the reliability of a site's content.   The Internet offers access to valuable information.  However, effective use of that information requires new skills.  Critical evaluation of information on the Internet is only one new literacy.  Of equal importance is to teach students to develop questions, synthesize information, and then communicate that information through a variety of technologies.   To hear Dr. Don Leu explain this in his own words, click here and select Watch the video.

Now that we have identified the need for the work we currently do, feel free to see what we are doing to support literacy instruction through our Carnegie grant. 

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