How Beanstack Supports Literacy Equity in Schools

How Beanstack Supports Literacy Equity
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Literacy is crucial to student success both inside and outside the classroom. Strong reading skills can mean better preparation for certain educational and professional opportunities, yet in 2024, 21% of adults in the U.S. are illiterate. Reading programs that support literacy equity are key to student success. Access to quality literacy instruction means higher academic achievement, greater educational opportunities, and even more confidence. However, many students across the country lack literacy equity. This results in learning gaps that disproportionately affect students from historically marginalized backgrounds. By prioritizing equity, educators and school leaders can ensure that all students have the tools to succeed.

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What Does Equity in Schools Mean?

Equity in education happens when students are provided with the necessary resources suited to their specific needs. A wide spectrum of factors impacts what a child needs to succeed, and all students should have access to instruction that challenges them at the appropriate level.


Many students and schools face barriers to achieving equity. Geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural factors can impact these challenges. To overcome barriers to equity, students must have access to the right resources for diverse learning needs. Attempting to close these gaps with a blanket solution of providing the same resources to all students only widens the gap.


Holding all students to the same standard can make some students feel singled out from their peers or insecure about their reading level. Beanstack supports literacy equity by building positive reading habits and allows students to count all reading rather than focusing on achieving a particular level.


The State of Equity in Reading & Literacy

Equity, through the lens of reading, means that every student in a reading program is provided with tools, books, and activities that meet their individual needs. Meeting students where they’re at improves literacy and comprehension.


Disparities in reading and literacy carry weight that extends far beyond the classroom. In addition to academic achievement, literacy boosts self-esteem and economic opportunities and contributes to active social participation. However, students across the country face barriers to learning.


Students from historically marginalized populations and under-resourced communities fall behind in far greater proportion than some of their peers. Differences in socioeconomic status, access to resources, and prior educational opportunities have a powerful impact on reading skills.


Effective reading assessment practices are crucial in supporting equity. Determining students’ needs is the first step in providing quality literacy instruction. Culturally responsive materials and teaching methods play a key role in this process. Students must see themselves represented in their books’ characters and continue developing positive associations with reading.


Comparing Equity and Equality in Schools

While the terms are often used similarly, equity and equality in education are not the same. Equality happens when every student is provided with the same resources. Equity happens when each student has the right resources for their needs.


An example of equality in literacy instruction could be that every student is given the same reading passage and the same multiple-choice quiz assignment. An example of equity in literacy instruction could be that each student is given a choice of several reading passages at different levels and then assigned to complete a project assessed on a rubric.


Equity in literacy goes beyond equality and considers that no two students are alike. Students need to learn reading meaningfully and effectively for them in their circumstances. Equity in literacy ensures that all students can access diverse multimedia reading materials to enhance their understanding and comprehension. With a broader selection of texts and multimedia, students are encouraged to engage deeply with ELA skills, fostering a more inclusive and enriching learning experience.


How To Create Literacy Equity in Your School

Now that you clearly understand literacy equity, let’s talk about bringing it to your school! In taking a holistic approach to equity, consider literacy equity in three categories:


Environmental Considerations

Equitable reading instruction begins with the space where reading occurs. Take steps to ensure that all students in your classroom get the most out of their learning experience.


Create a Supportive Classroom Environment

Students need to feel safe, respected, and valued in a place where they can express themselves without fear of judgment or discrimination. Foster a supportive classroom environment by encouraging students to be themselves and speak freely on topics that are important to them. One strategy to achieve this is having regular “share time” when students have a specified time and place to discuss a topic of their choice. Another option is integrating student feedback into projects so they feel their voice is heard and their opinions matter.


Ensure Students Have Access to Inclusive Reading Spaces

The classroom must be accessible to all students’ mental, emotional, and physical needs. If the space allows, consider a “quiet corner” with comfortable seats for students to sit when they need a moment to unwind. Adding tactile elements like textured children’s books or soft carpets may be helpful for students with sensory needs.


Foster a School Culture That Values Diversity and Inclusivity

Fostering a diverse school culture goes all the way down to inclusive reading spaces within the classroom. Students need to see themselves represented, and this means offering reading materials that acknowledge their challenges while addressing their lived experiences. Provide a selection of reading options to help deepen student engagement and promote a diverse school culture.


Learning Considerations

Learning is key to improving literacy, so it’s important to consider diverse learning needs.


Personalized Learning Approaches

This method includes accommodations for different learning styles, evaluating students’ challenges, and offering support or resources if needed. A good starting point is getting to know your students and the learning styles that engage them the most.


Student-Centered Learning

Fostering student success includes valuing social and emotional growth alongside academic achievement. It is important to get to know your students as people, much like understanding their learning styles. Incorporate topics and issues that interest them into instruction whenever possible.


Giving Students a Voice

When students have greater autonomy, they feel more connected in the classroom. Let students know their voices matter by creating space for their ideas and opinions. Offering choices that allow students to play a role in their own learning encourages participation and motivation.


Material Considerations

The third factor to consider in creating literacy equity in your school is choosing the right materials that represent and are accessible to your students.


Diverse Book Selections

The library is a great place to encourage inclusive reading! Ensure the school and classroom libraries include various books by diverse authors. Choose books that represent the communities your students are part of and populations they may not otherwise be exposed to.


Ensure Access to an Inclusive Library and Reading Spaces

Once you have cultivated your inclusive library, give students agency to explore the space and select books with characters and communities they can see themselves in. Work with your administration to ensure students have designated time to spend in the space. Evolve your collection by continuing to add new and inclusive books over time.

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How Beanstack Supports Literacy Equity in the Classroom

Beanstack’s expertise in improving literacy and reading skills is key in providing quality reading challenges at the classroom, grade, and school levels. When students participate, they become part of a community of readers working together toward a common goal. With our gamification features, students are motivated to develop good reading habits. The more they read, the more skilled they become!  


At Beanstack, we value educational equity and work to enhance literacy equity in schools. Our goal is to make all students feel valued and successful. The fun and engaging platform provides teachers, administrators, and principals with tools to track and improve student progress regardless of background or reading level.


An Equitable Platform Unlike Any Other

Promoting inclusivity and educational opportunity is why Beanstack has been implemented in more than 6,000 school buildings. Through our library and school tandem feature, students can connect year-round with their schools and libraries. Our holistic approach allows readers to engage with the platform on a schedule that works for them. 


Beanstack features support equitable reading practices, such as reading integrity without quizzes. By allowing students to choose their own books and build a diverse reading log, our platform fosters a love of reading without the stress of tests. Students are rewarded for effort, which levels the playing field and creates a supportive learning environment.


While some platforms lean toward students who are already motivated and strong readers, Beanstack is a space where all readers can achieve. Beanstack reinforces the notion for students that success is not only for the kids who read a lot. All readers can participate and excel!


How Beanstack Promotes Literacy Equity in the Community

Part of being an inclusive program accessible to as many students as possible includes having our program available in public libraries. Our library and school tandem connection is a one-of-a-kind platform where participants log 107% more reading on average!


Reading challenges offered by public libraries help to build literate communities. Beanstack tackles the widespread and complex issue of literacy by providing tools that motivate and excite kids about reading. By encouraging connections between the classroom, the community, and the home, we can work together to address literacy equity in a way that reaches far beyond our schools.


Parents can participate in challenges at home and create an environment that values reading. By encouraging autonomy and daily reading habits rather than focusing on quizzes, parents can keep reading fun, foster a supportive learning environment, and boost confidence through independent reading.


Schedule a Demo Today

If you are an educator or school leader, consider how integrating Beanstack can further your equity goals and foster literacy equity in your school. Contact us today to schedule a demo or request a quote to learn more about Beanstack!

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