When it comes to literacy, you may envision a group of small children sitting in a circle and having their teacher read them a story. While this is certainly the cutest way to think about literacy, literacy is about so much more than story time.
Literacy encompasses a variety of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills that are vital to the development of children. While mastering these skills is the ultimate goal, many students graduate without these critical skills. This will impact them forever by preventing them the opportunities to higher education or high paying jobs.
To accurately highlight the severity of this problem, let’s look at some of the ways literacy comes into play in our daily lives.
In school, literacy skills are crucial to:
- Seeking out new information
- Exploring subject materials
- Questioning information
- Listening and interpreting information
- Understanding assignments
- Performing well on assessments
- Communicating through the written word
- Understanding the world around you
In the workplace, literacy contributes to:
- Applying for jobs
- Maintaining full-time employment
- Listening and understanding problems and instructions
- Communicating and questioning
- Opportunities for advancement
- Reading and interpreting training and product information
- Working efficiently
- Learning new skills
- Networking with other professionals
- Escaping poverty
In our personal lives, literacy is key to:
- Finding a place to live
- Buying a home
- Filling out rental or purchase applications
- Forming friendships
- Advocating for yourself
- Interpreting health care information
- Communicating with your children’s teachers and daycare providers
These are only some examples of how literacy impacts the way we interact with the multitude of things that help us live a productive and happy life.
When students leave school, either by dropping out or graduating, they need to have mastered all levels of literacy or they will never succeed in things like on-the-job training programs, trade school, or college. Filling out enrollment or financial assistance paperwork can become huge barriers for these kids.
When it comes to the workforce, not having the literacy skills will eliminate most opportunities for jobs that pay well and have career advancement opportunities. Adults who lack the appropriate literacy skills are often unemployed or underemployed for all or most of their working lives.
Literacy also affects a huge part of our personal lives. When students leave school without literacy skills, they find it much harder to interact with others and build meaningful relationships. Things like feeling a sense of community and contributing to society are lost when you’re unable to do simple things like move to a new area of town, volunteer at your local church, or visit your doctor regularly.
Because literacy is so critical to life, teachers and parents must work together to identify, enforce and provide all students with the resources they need to master these critical skills. Passing kids on when they haven’t mastered the basics is only compounding the problem. Literacy Skill