How good of a reader are you? And how well-developed are the reading competencies of your students?
Today I had an epiphany about reading competencies at work. I was doing a creative project with a bunch of 8-graders. The project was not my invention, so I will not take credit for that. The idea was, that the students should build a theater stage model in cardboard. Then, they had to decorate the stage. For this, they had to rely on the directions in a manuscript. They had received step-by-step instructions beforehand.
All my students (and some of my colleagues) failed to read and follow the instructions.
Reading Competencies Are Fundamental
This made me realize how important these kinds of creative processes are. Especially for developing reading skills. Whether it is cooking in the school kitchen or doing handicrafts. If you cannot read instructions and follow them step by step, you have a problem.
This problem will follow you around in many other areas as well. Both in school and in later life. It is why so many students struggle with text problems in math. They lack the necessary reading competencies.
Creative subjects and project-based activities are important.
They can help to strengthen reading skills by providing real-world context. We need more of it, not less. This way, reading competencies can get reinforced manifold.
Relevance Reinforces Learning
Reading competencies are extremely important. If not the most important. This lesson serves as a vivid example to me.
We know that relevance is an important factor in learning. Project-based learning approaches play a vital role. They strengthen the relevance of the subject matter. It is why I am an avid supporter of project-based lessons.
Besides that, I had great fun helping the students along That is also important.
They all managed, in the end, by the way.