Literacy means reading…AND writing (Courtesty /Getty Images)

Literacy means reading – and writing

Helping Latino children improve their reading skills has been a hot topic this year. But there is more to literacy than just reading. According to Merriam-Webster, literacy is the ability to read and write. More and more Latino parents are finding the tools to help their children read, but how many think about giving their children opportunities to develop their writing skills?

The ability to communicate well in writing is a quality that all colleges look for and one that most careers demand. But in this technological age where texting and tweeting has spread like wildfire, students may struggle with spelling and grammar, and parents may find it difficult to find the right resources to help them.

Here are five ways to get your kids writing this summer so they can practice their spelling and grammar skills.


Start when they’re little! It’s important for children to learn the right way to form letters and numbers from the beginning. It is easier to learn how to write them the correct way than it is to forget what you’re already doing and relearn it. To teach handwriting, check out these resources:

Apps: LetterSchool by Boreaal is a popular app that teaches children how to write uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers. Parents/teachers can choose from 3 different writing styles. Kids love the graphics and interactive games. It also teaches letter names and sounds.

Curriculum: Handwriting Without Tears is a complete handwriting curriculum for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Although used by many schools, parents can use the products at home to help their children master handwriting.

Cursive: Opinions vary as to when a child should be taught to write in cursive, but typically by second grade many curricula begin introducing cursive writing. Handwriting Without Tears also offers materials for teaching cursive. But Teaching Cursive is a less expensive resource. The single book is a guide for teachers and parents that promises to create proficient writers in only 10 minutes of instruction a day for 56 days. The only other materials you need are pencils, paper, and your kid!


Spelling is not an easy skill to master. It takes lots of practice and good teaching materials. If your child is struggling with spelling, consider the following tools.

Spelling City is an online site that features games, flash cards, spelling tests and more to help your child learn new vocabulary and spelling words. You can enter your own words or use one of the many word lists they offer. Spelling City even comes in an app form for mobile learning.

School Zone also offers workbooks, apps, and software downloads to help develop your child’s spelling skills.

Related: Illustrating duo creates comic book to help students master grammar


Grammar may actually be one of the hardest parts to learn when it comes to Language Arts. Rules are not always explained or taught clearly. Lucky for us, two guys understood this and decided to create their own resource: Super Grammar. This teaching manual covers all of the major elements of grammar and presents them as superheroes or supervillains in a comic book format. The concept is engaging and easy to understand for both adults and children.

Literacy means reading   and writing monica olivera nbc parenting family NBC Latino News

Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher of, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.

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