In today’s workforce employees must be competent readers. No matter what their future job, students must know how to effectively read and understand a variety of materials to be successful in today’s workplace. Skills such as identifying the main idea, skimming for information, and being able to use information to find solutions to problems are all needed competencies (National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, 2012).
CTE teachers are in a unique position to assist in the acquisition of reading skills as students are expected to read and comprehend authentic industry materials. These students may be more motivated to read, apply, and understand materials in CTE classes knowing that they are acquiring real life knowledge needed in the workplace. CTE teachers can capitalize on this real world learning by teaching students how to effectively read and understand a variety of workplace materials. While this may be a formidable responsibility, there are many simple ways to develop and foster important reading skills. The below strategies will provide you with ideas of how this can happen in you classroom.
Prepare students before reading (Adolescent Literacy, 2016).
When new material will be read, talk about the subject matter and introduce any new vocabulary. Have students think about the topic and generate questions that they would like answered. These questions can focus students while they read as they look for answers. After reading, discuss the answers that were found.
Teach students to use the BDA (Before, During, After) Method (Adolescent Literacy, 2016).
Before reading: Activate student’s prior knowledge. What do they already know about this topic? Have them make predictions about what will be read and remind them to check on the validity of their predictions as they read.
During: Encourage students to think about the main idea and purpose of the text. They should take note of anything particularly interesting or confusing and try to understand how it relates to the material being learned. Sticky notes could be used for this purpose.
After: Have students pair up and turn to their partner in order to paraphrase the information that was read. Have them relate to their partner what they think was the main idea and how they see the information being important or useful in a given field of study.
Make the process of comprehension overt to your students (Adolescent Literacy, 2016).
As you read materials out loud to the class, explain what is going on in your head. Think out loud about what you believe to be the main idea and justify your belief. Wonder and question out loud about material that may be difficult. Show how you use context clues to figure out the meaning of words or passages. In this way you are modeling what good readers do to comprehend a text
Partner Up (Adolescent Literacy, 2016).
Pair weak readers with poor readers so that they can support each other. Have partners talk about what they’ve read to check for understanding.
The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Career and Technical Populations website has a webcast titled, “Improving Reading Through CTE” and can be found by clicking the following link:
For more ways to promote effective reading strategies in your CTE classroom, visit the resources below.
Adolescent Literacy (2016). Classroom Strategies. Retrieved on July 22, 2016 at:http://www.adlit.org/strategy_library/
National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (2012). ResearchSnapshot: Authentic Literacy Applications in CTE: Helping All Students Learn. Retrieved on July 22, 2016 at: http://www.nrccte.org/sites/default/files/publication-files/authentic_literacy.pdf
By: Rebecca Bardenhagen