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Improving Literacy Skills of Juvenile Detainees

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1994
6 pages
This report describes programs designed to teach illiterate youth to read and write, using a nontraditional, motivational approach that provides students with immediate positive feedback and then encourages them to strive for success.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention sought and funded these program models as a result of findings from the latest assessment of the reading levels of incarcerated youths, which revealed that the average student was aged 15.5 years but was reading at a 4th grade level. Programs funded in Mississippi and California produced significantly increased skills in composition, vocabulary, mechanics, and spelling, together with improved self-esteem. The programs use a progression of logically sequenced, multisensory lessons. A large part of the curriculum focused on the development, integration, and application of phonics. The youths readily develop reading and writing skills after developing the foundation in phonics. Tables and student writing samples

Date Published: October 1, 1994