By Audrey Sher

A vast number of high school students are limited by low levels of literacy. This problematic situation impacts learning in all subjects because literacy is key to unlocking content knowledge across the curriculum. As reading ability (both fluency and comprehension) improves, so do the chances that a student will master more rigorous coursework, and be better prepared to attend college, or meet today’s challenges in their chosen occupation.

Much of the curriculum students are required to read is met with contention. I’m neither going to validate nor dispute assigning works such as The Scarlet Letter and The Odyssey. In my tutoring practice, the young opposition bitterly complains that there is nothing in these types of books that is relatable. One valid argument is that they are not mature enough to fully comprehend the contents. However, just because young people might not totally grasp the inferences and nuances of a subject, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expose them to it.

I feel the more important issue is to be sure high schoolers are reading. Since there is the potential to be turned off to school literature, be sure your teen is engaging in literary pursuits. Give them a plethora of material to choose from. If they feel it is relevant and gripping, they will indeed read! In my opinion, students who have the ability to read but choose not to, miss out on just as much as those who cannot read at all.

Is your high schooler college bound? Independent reading is crucial during the college preparation process. Some universities have sections on their application that ask students to list what they’ve been reading outside of class. Most institutions of higher education require essays on their applications. Students who read a variety of well-written texts are more likely to excel in writing by having an enhanced vocabulary and a more clear writing style.

Need more reasons to have your high schooler read? Reading can ignite a wellspring of inspiration. Unlock the key and guide them down the wonderful path of high-level literacy.

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