How can we make a difference in the lives of our students by enabling them to achieve to their full potential?

The world we live in is changing rapidly, all the time – a young student told me the other day that her final class at university was very insightful… after three years of study the lecturer told them that almost everything he taught them is now redundant… so much had changed in the three years they completed their studies.

This just proves the fact that life-long learning is the only way to sustain proficient learning in the world we live in today. Knowledge and information are currently exploding across the globe. Never before has it been more important to train and develop accurate ways to facilitate the process of reading with comprehension. Furthermore, we need innovative ways to teach students how to use current knowledge as a basis from which create new knowledge. We need bigger solutions to bigger problems and we need it faster! But even university students, currently enrolled for the languages and the arts – are not proficient in reading .

Illiteracy is one of the leading causes of delinquency, poverty, frustration and depression which lead to a loss in productivity and general reduction in lifestyles and wellness amongst people in all global communities. The effects of illiteracy are very similar in developing and developed countries. This includes illiterate people trapped in a cycle of poverty with limited opportunities for employment or income generation and higher chances of poor health, turning to crime and dependence on social welfare or charity (if available) . The current economic situation has made this phenomenon even worse. High-performance environments (work, learning and sport) are here to stay and people require effective solutions which will give them the opportunity to overcome in life and to contribute by creating a healthy society.

We have to face the reality that education across the nations is faced with real challenges:

  • We are training for a future we do not even see
  • We need to train students for jobs that does not exist in our current framework of mind
  • There are challenging new needs in accurately addressing training for a better future!
Governments across the globe are spending millions in upgrading and redeveloping curricula in an effort to improve education outcomes, but the greatest challenge lies in bridging the gap between the student and the information they are supposed to study. The gap is not in the curricula – it is inside the student.

One of the important life skills that can and should be developed is in fact one of the greatest obstacles in successfully addressing our challenges in education and training for a better future. This area is accurate and sustainable reading skills development.

Accurate and Effective Reading enables us to act creatively and critically in a world which is ever-changing and provides rapid, ready access to new information and knowledge that will help us in life-long learning. Accurate Reading skills and strategies will enable students to bridge the gap and interact in a proficient way with the information they need to study.

In this blog I hope to empower teachers, educators and facilitators in order to:

  • Gain understanding of the reasons we should be trained in reading skills and strategies.
  • Be able to clearly recognizing where reading skills and strategies could and should be improved.
  • Plan and incorporate a reading intervention programme effectively assisting students to develop the needed skills.
  • Measure and compile complete results of reading intervention done.
  • Use cutting edge technology to ensure maximum output through accurate intervention methods.
The development of reading – and literacy skills is crucial to build a nurturing culture for learning and development for the future. A higher level of skilled readers today will produce a higher level of skilled workforce tomorrow.

LectorSA has studied reading skills and the development of skills and strategies for more than 20 years and have received invaluable market feedback and data from diverse application environments such as reading centres, school centres, private users of reading solution modules and higher education institutions using LectorSA modules to develop and enhance reading skills and strategies of registered students. In order to understand accurately what is happening in this field, we need to take account of the following facts:

  • The digital age has paved an information super highway across the barriers of all nations. It is thus possible for individuals to acquire knowledge and to strengthen and empower themselves to be able to take charge and responsibility for their own lives and future, by choosing to be accurately equipped (having the ability to receive and process information).
  • Teaching silent reading fluency is the area of reading that is taught the least . The efficient ability of silent reading is a crucial element for a student’s academic performance. Students must be able to read independently, silently, at the proper speed and with a good comprehension of their subject to make efficient progress in their studies.
  • Accurate Reading Skills and Strategies enable students to use the eyes and the faculty of the mind to work together in order to master the process of reading efficiently. Building upon this newly acquired understanding enables the individual to interpret new information, whether from textbooks or information materials, more accurately and faster by constructing correct conclusions and solutions based on this knowledge.
  • Expertise in any profession results from the absorbing of knowledge gained from textbooks and research that frames the perspectives about that specific field . A successful student is a student who “acquired extensive knowledge that affects what they notice (see) and how they organize, represent, and interpret information in their environment. Such knowledge later affects their ability to remember, reason, and solve problems. For experts, knowledge is not merely a list of isolated facts but it comes into existence within an extremely organized and contextualized formation.

Next month we will take a look at the current challenges we face in South Africa, and the possible solutions to these challenges. Looking forward to make a difference in reading development with you!