In most classrooms today, students enter with varying levels of knowledge and academic abilities. While some may be performing on grade level, others may be lacking the necessary skills to remain on or near grade level. If these academic deficiencies are not addressed properly, the literacy achievement gap will continue to widen with each passing school year. In addition, as students mature, they may become more aware of any learning gaps they have, which can cause them to be more self-conscious or reserved when receiving assistance. In these cases, teachers can use discreet tactics and strategies to address the learning gaps of any struggling students.
First of all, it is important to plan lessons that include vocabulary and content that address real-world situations and scenarios that students can relate to. As students gain this knowledge, they will naturally see a transition to their own real-world and life experiences. They will make those connections and close learning gaps. Lessons can also be developed across several subjects, including math, science, social studies, music, and art. This multidisciplinary approach allows teachers to scaffold information and help students transfer knowledge from one subject to the next without telling students explicitly that the learning is taking place. In turn, students will increase their vocabulary bank and literacy skills in a natural and indirect way.
Vista’s Connect and Bridges programs help support students in these ways, and more! The print and digital components of each unit (which include videos and interactive lessons), reinforce the information learned and give students the opportunity to practice language and skills in an engaging and asynchronous, independent fashion. Other supplemental material in Connect, such as the thematic readers, uses the content in different contexts, discreetly reinforcing the concepts learned. Vocabulary cards provide visual support to allow students to make connections between unknown words and their prior knowledge and inquiry skills, without lengthy explanations. With the amount of visual print-rich and digital material available in the Vista programs, students will be able to further close their learning gaps without even knowing they’re doing it!
By: Angela Padron