Literacy Is Essential for Youth

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Literacy Is Essential for Youth

Literacy Is Essential for Youth

Every important social issue is impacted by literacy. When individuals learn how to read, write, do basic math, and use computers, they have the power to find sustainable employment and ultimately change their lives. 

One question one of our social work interns wonders is: “Is it ever too late to learn literacy skills?” 

To some, the answer will seem like an obvious yes. Consider for a moment stepping into the shoes of students in the High School Credit Recovery program at iCan Dream Center. Many of these students came to the Center as a direct result of needing reading support. 

Research shows that concentrated instruction can help improve the reading skills of low performing students.  I fondly recall a new student, John, in the High School Credit Recovery program. John needed help with his writing skills. His teacher found an online app that could assist John. Soon, he was spending 20 minutes of class working on writing letters and reading phrases and that consistent practice paid off; in just two months, John’s writing skills had improved. Online tools are often where it’s at for adolescents struggling with literacy. Meeting them in the spaces they spend the most time takes one layer of frustration out of the process for low performing students. 

Developing effective literacy strategies to improve the reading and writing skills of older students can help youth harness their potential. Because of this, many school districts across the country have implemented various literacy-based professional development programs for teachers. iCan Dream Center works closely with Instructional Coaches whose chief responsibility is to bring evidence-based practices into classrooms by working with teachers and school leaders. 

Literacy builds self-esteem and overall quality of life for adults. Becoming literate vastly improves economic opportunities, increases personal empowerment, provides measurable benefits for health and safety, and strengthens one’s relationships and civic engagement. Investing in literacy is not just important; it’s transformative. 

Source: AFEE. (2020, June 8). Challenges confronting high schools: Adolescent literacy. Retrieved May 20, 2021, from https://all4ed.org/webinars-events/challenges-confronting-high-schools-adolescent-literacy/