Early Grade Literacy

The Inspirededucator12 adventure began on March 6, 2018. Today I am discussing early grade literacy. I acknowledge that much work has been done in early grade literacy acquisition and instruction all over the world. My experience in this field is in Jamaican primary schools. There are many factors influencing the results that we have had in Jamaica. Selected factors include: literacy environment at home; home language (patois); teacher education; private vs. public schools; teaching time; and the state of the entire education infrastructure.

I am encouraged by the progress that is being made to improve students’ literacy skills in Jamaica. There are pockets of excellence and overall the education ministry working with International Development Partners has done some very good work. I am especially encouraged by the work to improve the performance of boys. Selected schools in collaboration with the ministry and its partners have had encouraging results.

For the first time in five years, male students had a higher mean percentage score (76.7%) for Language Arts than that of 68.5% for female students at the 2017 Jamaican Grade Six Achievement Test.

There is a lot of work to be done……and the journey continues. Some teachers continue to be challenged regarding how best to achieve the long term goals of literacy acquisition and instruction- what we call the ‘higher-order’ goals of reading comprehension and writing (writing composition).  There are other teachers who are excelling at their craft. I encourage teachers to share notable practices and network so that the good results will be widespread. Talk soon…….

Claire Spence



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