The main issue for the public education system is the achievement gap, this has caused many educators to ponder on why certain groups are further behind and the achievement gap is continually growing. Students who are identified as students of color, English Learners and who are living in poverty are less likely to have access to a curriculum that provides critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration that will prepare them to be college or workforce ready. Equity is apparent when a school possesses a balanced literacy environment. This will foster a productive learning environment that provides all students an environment that is culturally responsive, invest in knowing their students academically, socially and emotionally, and provide a rigorous curriculum throughout their education. When these elements are implemented effectively the environment supports and develops independent learners. Literacy is a tool that provides every learner to have the ability to comprehend, articulate and critically think. All educators must understand the importance of literacy, it is connection to academic success and how to effectively implement literacy in their learning environment.
As stated before, balanced literacy is essential to students’ academic success and by providing this the learning environment is implementing the tools for students to meet the demands of the 21st-century. Reading achievement is declining because of the high rise of complex text. By effectively implementing a balanced literacy program, this will support students learning and move students from the surface learning to deep learning.
High school students enter the secondary level at a high rate below grade level, which indicates the need for direct literacy instruction. The direct and explicit instruction focuses on specific literacy skills where the teacher presents the information and allows students to practice the skill. Explicit instruction allows the students to receive strategic instruction and this is also known as the information processing model. Students who learn the information and continue to use the information have a higher chance of storing the knowledge in their long term memory which is known as informational-processing.
Adolescent literacy is a challenge for educators, yet there are solutions to making sure every student is capable of learning and effectively communicating their ideas and being able to comprehend either in the learning environment or outside the environment. One component to successfully supporting literacy is modeling thinking about thinking and guiding students to be aware of their thinking. As the teacher implements Metacognitive knowledge they will also implement scaffolding to support the learners through the process. By implementing metacognitive and scaffolding throughout instruction students will have the ability to comprehend complex text. The complex and difficult text must be available for all students so they will be prepared for college and the workforce. Students who experience productive struggle are able to think, comprehend the text and articulate through speaking and writing.