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Urban Literacy Project:

"U-L-P! Readers, writers and thinkers rule the world! In other words, individuals who digest, comprehend, and study the things that around them (reading), execute concrete plans from the information that they've learned (writing), and prepare for the possibilities of a better future (thinking), are the citizens most qualified to enforce the progress of any and all societies. So my mission is now to help prepare that literate citizenship by any means necessary, Where the sky is our only limit!"

Sign up today to have your school participate in the Urban Literacy Project, you could get a visit from me (smile).

Omar Tyree, a New York Times best-selling author, a 2001 NAACP Image Award recipient for Outstanding Literature in Fiction, and a 2006 Phillis Wheatley Literary Award winner for Body of Work in Urban Fiction, has been cited in 2009 by the City Council of Philadelphia for his work in Urban Literacy, and has published 19 books with 2 million copies sold worldwide. With a degree in Print Journalism from Howard University in 1991, Tyree has been recognized as one of the most renowned contemporary writers in the African-American community. He is also an informed and passionate speaker on various community-related and intellectual topics. Now entering the world of international business and seminars, urban children’s books, stageplays, feature films and songwriting, Tyree is a tireless creator and visionary of few limitations. For more information on his work and titles, please view his web site @ (www.OmarTyree.com).

IMPLEMENTING THE 5 KEY COMPONENT METHOD OF TEACHING LITERACY

.....................................................................................................................................

Method Goals

  • Instructing teachers to utilize a clear and repetitious method of strengthening the literacy rates, capabilities, confidence and competence of students from levels K through 12.
  • Imparting the importance and full comprehension of literacy to all students, parents, teachers, superintendents and school systems through the practice and the consistent explanation of The 5 Key Components and their definitions as listed below.
  • To share, teach, enhance, and offer this groundbreaking method nationally as a universal model of literacy instruction that WORKS!

An Introduction

What Are The 5 Key Components Of Literacy?

1. Reading – The Process Of Consuming Information

  • We actually ALL READ with our 5 HUMAN SENSES before we ever touch a book.
  • Humans READ everyday life with their EYES as soon as they wake up in the morning.
  • Humans READ with their EARS even when their EYES are closed and they cannot see.
  • Humans READ with their NOSE most effectively at dinnertime.
  • Humans READ with their TONGUE with TASTE, as they all must eat to live.
  • And finally, humans READ with their sense of TOUCH and their FEELINGS. A hard or soft texture on the fingertips of the hand is a READING, as well as an expression of an emotional state of sadness or fear.
  • TEACHERS MUST LEARN this basic and worldly definition of READING in order to educate the reluctant as well as the inspired student of the importance of this most essential life skill, so that each student can now connect, inarguably, to its everyday use.
  • Now we may teach with more enthusiasm the connection of READING literature in books, magazines, newspapers, printed fliers, product instructions, letters, contracts, the internet, and cell phones through thousands of words, sentences, paragraphs and diagrams that bring us the information of world that we utilize to live, communicate and FUNCTION as HUMANS!
  • Teachers must be able to state clearly and repetitiously to the students and parents alike, that READING, with all our 5 SENSES and EDUCATIONAL SKILLS, is what brings us the everyday INFORMATION of life.
  • In 2 words, the teacher must be able to EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance of the skill of READING in order to defuse the reluctance of the student for the designed goal of stronger comprehension and execution.

2. Writing – The Process Of Communication

  • Humans WRITE everyday of their lives in at least 3 different forms without using a pen, a pencil, a crayon, a marker, or any form of computer or typewriter.
  • Humans actually WRITE when they SPEAK. Speaking is a form of writing and communication. We speak to WRITE for the EARS. We SING to tell a song. We YELL to write for urgency and anger! And we WHISPER to alert the mind of our friend or neighbor that this particular writing is for our ears only.
  • A second form of writing is MOVEMENT. When we MOVE we WRITE for the EYES. Film and television directors all shout LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! Our EYES will then respond to the action of written MOVEMENT as the visual acting and direction communicates a story.
  • Our third form of writing without tools is our FACIAL EXPRESSIONS! Human faces have countless muscles that respond to everything we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel, which WRITES or COMMUNICATES our emotional state to the world. And whether we realize it or not, the communication, as human say, is “written all over your face.”
  • TEACHERS MUST LEARN this basic and worldly definition of WRITING in order to educate the reluctant as well as the inspired student of the importance of this most essential life skill, so that each student can now connect, inarguably, to its everyday use.
  • Now we may teach with more enthusiasm the connection of WRITING to communicate on paper, in notebooks, in magazines, newspapers, fliers, letters, the internet, and cell phones through the use of thousands of words, sentences, paragraphs and diagrams that relate who we are and all of our thoughts and or intensions to the world.
  • Teachers must be able to state clearly and repetitiously to the students and parents alike, that WRITING, in all of its forms, is what allows us humans to communicate EVERYTHING that we do, have done, or plan to do.
  • In 2 words, the teacher must be able to EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance of the skill of WRITING in order to defuse the reluctance of the student for the designed goal of stronger comprehension and execution.

3. Thinking – The Process Of Focused Movement, Emotions, Desire and Intellect

  • Humans THINK before they MOVE. Even in a REFLEX, the mind will send a lightening fast message to our hand to slap our ear when the nervous system sends information to the brain that an insect has just landed on us, or is about to.
  • Humans THINK about all of their EMOTIONS, and their actions and body language responds accordingly.
  • Humans THINK about their DESIRES, and everything they would like to do in life.
  • In fact, humans are ALWAYS THINKING. They THINK about EVERYTHING. Their multitude of thoughts is what makes them INTELLEGENT. So now . . . how come so many of humans answer, “Nothing,” when you ask them what they are thinking about?
  • This answer is a LIE! Humans are ALWAYS THINKING! Nevertheless, whenever humans are UNFOCUSED and wandering, they have a tendency to give those particular thoughts no value.
  • However, since THINKING is the core of LITERACY, literate humans are FOCUSED with what they READ, as well as what they WRITE. But any human who thinks about “nothing,” will also read and write “nothing.” Which would mean that they don’t SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, FEEL, SPEAK, MOVE, or EXPRESS anything.
  • THAT IS ABSOLUTE NONSENSE! However, humans have been ALLOWED to get away with unfocused thoughts and “illiterate” answers.
  • In a word, THINKING is GENIUS! And those who think are the most literate, and are constantly and rapidly consuming information, as well as communicating their many thoughts though their multitude of IDEAS!
  • Well, LITERACY is the comprehension of ideas consumed (READ) and communicated (WRITTEN)! So how can anyone be LITERATE without THOUGHT! But since we all do READ with our 5 senses, and WRITE to communicate, humans are ALL LITERATE and do THINK, we must understand now how to FOCUS those thoughts.
  • TEACHERS MUST LEARN this basic and worldly definition of THINKING in order to educate the reluctant as well as the inspired student of the importance of this most essential life skill, so that each student can now connect, inarguably, to its everyday use.
  • Now we may teach with more enthusiasm the connection of THINKING to READ and WRITE to consume the information and to communicate with the world round us.
  • Teachers must be able to state clearly and repetitiously to the students and parents alike, that THINKING is the literate SKILL that allows us to do EVERYTHING that we learn or teach.
  • In 2 words, the teacher must be able to EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance of the skill of THINKING in order to defuse the reluctance of the student for the designed goal of stronger comprehension and execution.

4. Visualization – The Process Of Creating Past, Present & Future Imagery

  • “The boy jumped over the moon and landed in the lake.” “The girl tripped down the steps and broke her ankle.” “The man stood in a long line to pay for his lottery ticket as the neighborhood gas station.” “The woman picked the best fruit and vegetables at the grocery store to place into her shopping cart.”
  • WOW! Words and sentences that can create a VISUAL IMAGE in a human mind is an INCREDIBLE tool of life! That is LITERACY! Understanding the definitions of the words to create the image of the sentence in the mind, through the repetitions of READING, WRITING and THIKING is a MUST!
  • Good VISUAL WRITING allows us all to SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, FEEL, and IMAGINE what we READ. VISUALIZATION is the key to all possibilities. And it is the gift that we acquire from READING, WRITING and THINKING.
  • In fact, VISUALIZATION is the ultimate goal of LITERACY. We now SEE the picture, and can act on the information, retell the story, think about the meaning, follow the instructions, or agree or disagree with the opinion as fully LITERATE HUMANS.
  • But as we state, “Without vision, the people will perish,” and become frustrated, not able to comprehend the visual understanding of anything. And if a student cannot SEE the goal of the FUTURE, then there is no future and no point in the lesson. That is why the earliest readers are trained to learn through the imagery of pictures, colors and illustration. They must be able to see the final goal or depiction of the literature.
  • TEACHERS MUST LEARN this basic and worldly definition of VISUALIZATION in order to educate the reluctant as well as the inspired student of the importance of this most essential life skill, so that each student can now connect, inarguably, to its everyday use.
  • Now we may teach with more enthusiasm the connection of VISUALIZATION to comprehend literacy and what it means for us to SEE the continuous learning our combined future.
  • Teachers must be able to state clearly and repetitiously to the students and parents alike, that VISUALIZATION must be practiced and executed over and over, so that literate students can understand as well as create the new world that they will inherit.
  • In 2 words, the teacher must be able to EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance skill of VISUALIZATION in order to defuse the reluctance of the student for the designed goal of stronger comprehension and execution.

5. Application – The Process Of Executing Knowledge

  • The final frontier of all that we learn or teach is being able to APPLY that KNOWLEDGE or information in our everyday lives. Hence, teachers must constantly test their students to make certain that their instruction has not fallen upon death ears and gone unused.
  • Humans all APPLY learned skills throughout their lives, with the youngest humans having the most to learn and to APPLY; walking, talking, eating, using the bathroom, washing their hands, getting dressed, tying their shoes, taking baths, catching buses, using seat belts, blowing their noses, and so on.
  • But without the use of APPLICATION, humans do not progress. So we are forced to APPLY our KNOWLEDGE of various SKILLS every day of our lives in order to move our world forward. THAT IS A FACT!
  • LITERACY – THE PROCESS OF READING, WRITING, THINKING, VISUALIZATION AND APPLICATION! Those are The 5 Key Components.
  • TEACHERS MUST LEARN these groundbreaking definitions in order to educate the reluctant as well as the inspired student of the importance of LITERACY as a most essential life skill, so that each student can now connect, inarguably, to its everyday use.
  • Now we may teach with more enthusiasm the connection of APPLICATION and why we must TEST THEM to guide their individual and group learning.
  • Teachers must be able to state clearly and repetitiously to the students and parents alike, that APPLICATION and testing is a necessary element of instruction, so that we may be able to continually assess and improve student capability, confidence, and competence.
  • In 2 words, the teacher must be able to EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance scope of APPLICATION in order to defuse the reluctance of the student for the designed goal of stronger comprehension and execution.

The Existing Reading & Writing Curriculum

  • Now that you understand the basic definitions of The 5 Key Components of Literacy, the method of implementation into the existing reading and writing curriculum is to simply introduce and then to repeat the meaning and importance of each component before and during the give lesson plan.

Examples

  • The standard Reading curriculum highlights Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening and Research.
  • The 5 Key Component method would simply ask the student more questions, What did you read (see, hear, smell, taste, or feel)? What did you write (speak, move, or express)? What do you think (a focused responses)? What do you visualize (create the picture)? What did you apply (execute from knowledge)? These questions create a more specific and focused approach to the reading, writing, speaking, listening and research that the teachers already utilize. When each student answers questions from what they read and are asked to speak, the other students are listening. And with specific questions that create more focus, the students now understand to use more of their own reading and thinking research to successfully answer these more specific questions.
  • Therefore, The 5 Key Component method heightens what the current curriculum already utilizes by adding more detail to the student challenge. In a word, The 5 Key Component method makes literacy more like the assertive learning of MATH. It allows the literacy instruction to maintain more mental activity by asking for more specific information in a series, like MATH.
  • The standard Reading curriculum speaks of Guided Reading, Independent Reading, ,and Group Reading (small and large).
  • All 3 exercises are fine and needed, as long as there are continued questions and answers that keep the students on their mental toes. So we guide the initial lesson, ask the independents, and ask the groups the same rapid-fire questions as defined through The 5 Key Component method, creating a steady moving rhythm that keeps the class active. Therefore, an instructor must move with a mental alarm clock to engage and challenge as a norm of their teaching style.
  • The standard Reading curriculum speaks of students performing on different Assessment Levels.
  • In my assessment, it is very important to allow classroom leaders to lead for the sake of positive speed. The 5 Key Component method is based on logical success and repetition. Therefore, with the first series of questions, be very open to the eager students, while taking note of when to include the reluctant students. But just because a child is eager does not mean they are the most competent. However, their open energy is what we want to set an example for the rest of the class. So reward bravery with positive feedback for helping to keep the lesson moving strongly. Also move around the classroom frequently as not to choose the same students to lead.
  • The standard Reading curriculum speaks of Life Experiences, Literacy Background, and World Knowledge that address reader comprehension levels.
  • Perfect! The 5 Key Component method is based on the logic of explaining and relating why the individual skills of literacy are important. So connect your lesson to each student’s base of knowledge to create more enthusiasm. Therefore, a teacher must know the students and the current society in order to relate and stimulate the lesson from a contemporary and or local cultural perspective. Also, choose to read more books that relate to your students.
  • The standard Reading curriculum addresses Independent Readers, Instructional Readers and Frustration.
  • No problem! The 5 Key Component method would continue to challenge the independent readers, who should not be allowed to get bored, work with the instructional readers, with cooperative challenge, and reward the efforts of frustrated readers, who desire to be literate because they understand its importance as well as how energized the classroom moves when they are all capable. The 5 Key Component method creates more of a team sport atmosphere, and even the frustrated kids work to score and to celebrate. So let with positive feedback for everyone
  • The standard Reading curriculum frequently addresses Time Management for Independent activity verses Small Group and Entire Class activity.
  • My understanding here, in keeping an active rhythm, as well as diffusing free-loafers who will not work by themselves, is to allow The 5 Key Component method to challenge the individuals within the group, while allowing the group to recuperate with corrections, where all three styles of instruction may be effected at the same time. And the rapid correction by the more prepared students would allow the reinforcement of classroom focus and not loafing.
  • The standard Writing curriculum addresses Informative, Narrative, and Persuasive writing.
  • Great! Now explain, briefly, why each style of writing is important with plenty of examples ready, and keep the instruction moving right along, while using examples that will relate every time you get stuck. That is The 5 Key Component method, based on the logic of simple and rapid-fire explanation and flow.
  • The standard Writing explains the Focus, Content Development, Organization and Style of writing.
  • Awesome! The 5 Key Component method loves to focus on all of the content involved, with the rapid-fire questions that keep the lesson and student thoughts organized. Our style is all about the execution of learning, and the more that teachers become familiar with the repetitious flow, the faster the class moves toward successful application of the needed skills.

Other Subject Curriculums

  • No matter what the subject, The 5 Key Component method is based on logic, individual challenge and classroom flow. However, ALL instructors must first EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance of their individual lesson or subject as it relates to their contemporary students to impart the initial and continuous logic of the lessons. That is what The 5 Key Component method does with literacy. The method of quickly and systemically explaining WHY the learning is important is established to diffuse the reluctant students from tuning out the respective course.

Examples

  • For African-American Studies, the most important EXPLANATION and DEFENSE of the material is to impart how many people, places, things, and historical events were created within the African-American culture that created, energized or led American culture as a whole, including Jazz music, novels, poetry, paintings, fashion and the lifestyles that represented the era of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Logically thinking, it would be wise to relate the importance of Harlem’s era to the 1980’s era of hip hop music and its world domination, which the present generation of students are still a part of and can relate to.
  • With each lesson of African-American history, you want begin by explaining WHY the lesson is important, and then quickly relate it to the present day to reconnect to the students, who may be reluctant to appreciate the subject. This is all done to hold the attention of the students as well as the retention of the information, so that it STICKS and becomes more readily applied for testing!
  • In Math, an instructor would EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance of counting money, paying taxes, figuring out a cell phone bills, calculating clothing discounts, paying a home mortgage with interest, paying a car note with interest, working on commission, as well as understanding angles, heights and sizes of a building, a room, or a recreational center all as examples of WHY the math lesson is important.
  • Teachers can ALWAYS strengthen the learning process by planning how to quickly EXPLAIN and DEFEND every reason why math is important in REAL LIFE TERMS and REPEAT IT over and over again. That is The 5 Key Component method.
  • In Science, an instructor would EXPLAIN and DEFEND the importance of understanding how humans got here, where did animals come from, dinosaurs, outer space, the sun, the moon, distant planets, water, air, the stars, the weather, body health, allergies, colds, flues, disease, broken bones, calcium, antibiotics, medicine, doctors, foods, perfumes, deodorant, insecticides, and all of the other scientific knowledge that allows us humans to deal with the world around us.
  • Teachers can ALWAYS strengthen the learning process by planning how to quickly EXPLAIN and DEFEND every reason why science is important in REAL LIFE TERMS and REPEAT IT over and over again. That is The 5 Key Component method.
  • The same theory of explaining and defending would apply to the Language Arts. Why is it important to understand a sentence, grammar, structure and how to write and speak to communicate with the world makes one more valuable in employers.
  • Teachers can ALWAYS strengthen the learning process by planning how to quickly EXPLAIN and DEFEND every reason why language arts is important in REAL LIFE TERMS and REPEAT IT over and over again.That is The 5 Key Component method.
  • The same theory of explaining and defending the importance of your subject would apply to Foreign Languages, Physical Education, Music, Art, Drama, Dance, Team Sports, etc. Teachers can ALWAYS strengthen the learning process by planning how to quickly EXPLAIN and DEFEND every reason why language arts is important in REAL LIFE TERMS and REPEAT IT over and over again. That is The 5 Key Component method.

A Basic Course Day

  • The 5 Key Component method of teaching is not created to reinvent the wheel, but to strengthen the learning process by explaining multiple reasons WHY the information of the wheel is important. So a normal class day would look like a normal class day, with far more student and teacher interaction.

Examples

  • Back to the African-American Studies course; at the beginning of the lesson, the instructor explains – “The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s allowed African-American students not only to integrate citywide grade schools, middle schools, and high schools, but eventually to integrated national colleges and universities. Now just imagine, if there were no African-American students at Central High School, Roman Catholic, Girls High, or at Engineering & Science? Furthermore, imagine if there were no African-American students at Temple, North Carolina, Florida, Duke, Virginia Tech, UCLA or Villanova? But now there are, because the Civil Rights Education bill made it illegal to deny minority student enrollment. And now any American, no matter their race or creed, if they have the right grades, can attend the school of their choice.”
  • Now the instructor has their attention to continue to teach with FOCUS because the logic of the lesson immediately makes sense, and the students can relate to it. But make certain you have a few more quickies of explanations up your sleeve to keep their attention. From there, TIME MANAGEMENT becomes an important factor to map out how much information you can cover in the allotted schedule.
  • However, The 5 Key Component method dictates that you continue to ask rapid questions about the given material no matter how much time you have. Of course, the more time the better, but the method all about rapid learning activity with a give and take of comprehension between the teacher and students. The method does not allow for much dead or daydream time.
  • Learn to stay involved as much as possible with student and teacher readings and discussions. So you read for 5, 10, or 15 minutes independently or within groups (depending on the time schedule), and then ask student questions to discuss, to keep the lessons active like MATH.
  • Also like Math, which utilizes equations, formulas and consistent methods, The 5 Key Component approach is formulaic in its execution, and it moves fast, just like the information of the urban streets. The goal is to cover, as much understood information as possible each day, through relatable discussions with reading, writing, thinking, visualizing and applying the content to everyday life. The 5 Key Component method.

The Original Urban Literacy Project Curriculum

  • From my original 5 Key Components of Literacy proposal, the elements that still apply are the need for Teacher Enthusiasm, Individual Spotlight on reluctant and or frustrated students, Behavior Problems, Personalized Instruction, Master Instruction, Additional Objectives, and Program Retention.
  • Note: I will briefly address all of the above issues from the Original Urban Literacy Project proposal of Year 2009.

A Gender Addendum

  • If the development allows, I would also briefly like to add a loose lecture from a recent conversation with the Charlotte Mecklenberg County Schools (CMS) of North Carolina, regarding gender learning and Teaching Male Children To Read, which will include a brief discussion on Subject, Type of Content, Active Reading, Rewards, Instruction Speed, Older Male Readership, and of course, utilizing The 5 Key Component method.

An Open Q&A

  • As this point, an active Q&A would open up the conversation to a more detailed discussion of execution based on the individual and independent challenges of each teacher at the various schools and various grade levels, understanding that you all have some rather specific challenges to address, where the logic of The 5 Key Component method can show its full adaptability . . .

 

   
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