Literacy continues to be our focus as we teach our students skills for the 21st century. These skills go beyond simple decoding, fluency and comprehension to include synthesizing and evaluating all kinds of texts, including print, visual and digital texts. A child’s first teachers are their parents, who develop a child’s early literacy skills. When children arrive in our schools in Junior Kindergarten, a particular emphasis is put on Early Learning in an attempt to close the achievement gap early in a child’s academic career. Through age-appropriate literacy activities and guided play, our kindergarten students learn about phonological awareness, letters and their sounds, sight words, concepts of print and oral language skills. We have implemented many initiatives to ensure our students get a good start to their education, including Calling All Three Year Olds, Best Start and Early Intervention. We thank our community partners who have helped us implement these programs. As students progress through the grades, we continue to support their literacy development with a Balanced Literacy Approach, including lessons in critical literacy, media literacy, the use of technology and higher-order thinking skills that they will need as they move into adulthood. We encourage parents to participate in literacy activities at home on Family Literacy Day on January 27.