The Nebraska State Board of Education supports and encourages systemic efforts to improve early literacy for all students, working to ensure that all students become successful readers and writers. The Nebraska State Board of Education believes that local school districts should establish policies that promote high-quality early literacy instruction based on the science of reading and that highlight the importance of grade-level reading.
Local school districts should:
- Provide rich language and literacy experiences throughout students’ PK-12 education;
- Establish print-rich classrooms, including opportunities to engage with a wide range of high-quality children’s literature and informational text;
- Promote the classroom practice of reading aloud daily, fostering a deep enjoyment of reading and exposing children to rich language;
- Select and implement standards-aligned, high-quality instructional materials for English Language Arts;
- Support strong core academic instruction, including explicit and systematic instruction in phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension;
- Develop and implement a curriculum scope and sequence of foundational writing instruction with an emphasis on writing proficiently in a variety of modes for different purposes and audiences as well as the mechanics of writing;
- Develop and implement a comprehensive assessment system that includes universal screening for proficiency in foundational skills, diagnostic measures, progress monitoring, and an outcome measure to gather evidence of student learning and to inform instruction to meet the individual needs of every student;
- Provide an individualized reading improvement plan that outlines the specialized supports and evidence-based interventions for student having difficulties with early literacy skills, including those who exhibit characteristics of dyslexia;
- Consider factors including vision or hearing issues that may affect a student’s literacy development;
- Communicate with, involve, and provide tools and resources to student’s caregivers (e.g. parents, guardians, etc.) from the very beginning of their education so they can support early literacy development; and
- Ensure students have access to before school, after school, and summer literacy programming.
The Nebraska State Board of Education encourages local school districts to provide ongoing professional learning for all educators in early literacy instruction. This includes explicit and systematic instruction in language development, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency and comprehension, and the use of evidence-based techniques and interventions for teaching early literacy skills. Through the development and implementation of local policies, procedures, and practices, districts can continue to build family, community, and school partnerships to help students become successful readers and writers.