What do I mean by “literacy for life?”
So many times I hear parents and teachers talk about grade levels and test scores. I get it…those things matter in our world. With proper intervention by a trained practitioner, those things should improve.
But I don’t often speak in terms of those things when working with clients. Why? Because people are so much more than a grade level or a test score. And let’s face it, if we are teaching just for a grade level or test score, we are selling people short.
Children spend 13 years in school. 13 years. While working through school, 13 seems like a daunting number. But the cliche is true…the days are long, but the years are short.
Those 13 years fly by, and then individuals are left with deciding what to do with the rest of their lives. Think for a minute what that might feel like if you struggled through school for those 13 years. What are your options? More school? You can imagine why many would say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Trade school? Definitely valuable and needed, but let’s face it…that requires learning, too. Sure, there are options for individuals with limited reading ability, but is that what we should shoot for. Should we be OK with limiting future options for kids?
Literacy for life, to me, means that my clients will have the confidence to apply for the school or job of their choice. They will have options in their lives. They will have the power of choice.
Grade-levels don’t really exist. They are made up by people…companies, really. Lexiles, F&P, Reading A-Z, Fry Readability Formula… there are more, and all are different interpretations of what a “grade level’ is.
Test scores are made and interpreted by people. Who is to say that they are right?
Grade levels and test scores only really matter for 13 years, and then people need to live their lives. I want to teach for their lives. I want to open up opportunities for their future. I want young people to have the chance to choose what they love and feel confident that they have the ability to pursue that love. That, to me, is literacy for life.