This paper highlights the five essential components of effective literacy program.Literacy has been defined as individual's ability to read and write.The term also embraces other operational definitions such as computer and multimedia operations as well as understanding health concepts. The five essential key areas of effective literacy according to the US National Reading Panel include the phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, the fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. All these are predictors of effective literacy among individuals and needed to be properly assessed for an objective measure of students' learning outcomes.The skills in communication are vital in the life and development of a person. Success during childhood as well as later stage in life is usually dependent on the individual's ability to read, write and grasp learning about complex situations. Acquiring literacy is a complex task and in fact, nations across the globe are confronted with so many issues in relation to severity of literacy problem. In the estimates of UNESCO (Rotary International, 2007), there are nearly 800 million people globally over the age of fifteen (15) have insufficient basic reading and writing skills. Added to that, over 64% percent of the world's population is illiterate women and children.Literacy is traditionally defined as the ability of an individual to read and write. It may also encompass other functional abilities, such as operating computer, understanding disease prevention, or reading signs in a market (Rotary Club, 2008). Former President Bill Clinton once said in his speech, ""Literacy is not a luxury; it is a right and a responsibility... if our world is to
meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens" (Better World Quotes, 2008). Consequently, comprehensive reviews on the problem on literacy have created demand for programs that attributes to the improvement of students' skills in reading and writing (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2004).
Components of Effective Literacy
According to the United States National Reading Panel (2000), there are five essential key areas or components of effective literacy that can fit into a school's literacy program. The said five key areas are the: phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, the fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.These elements must be considered in literacy programs.
Phonemic awareness is the ability of the individual to hear, recognize and manipulate the individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. It does not include visual recognition of the alphabet letters, only their sounds. To build this, the instructor may strategize teaching through the use of poems, nursery rhymes, wordplay in songs, literatures and the use of oral language. On the other hand, alphabet letters and sounds being represented are introduced in phonics instruction. This will enable the individual to successfully recognize words and spelling. There are several ways in which phonics can be built, examples include letter-sound correspondence or letter naming and letter blending or putting together multiple letters sounds. Indoor games like picture shows, spelling bee, word factory, scrabble, message relay and puzzles may be encouraged by instructors in their respective classes. In addition, fluency is defined as the ability to read texts or sentences accurately and smoothly. The use of guided and repeated oral reading, audio recording (play back and repeat listening of voices) and echo reading are some ways in building fluency. In English classes, speech choir, role playing activities and theatrical shows
may be required by the teacher. Similarly, vocabulary refers to the definitions of words that are heard