Takhar: Literacy: the life skill needed to succeed

Takhar: Literacy: the life skill needed to succeed

Brynne Takhar is a Grade 12 student at H.J. Cody School and writes a monthly column for the paper

Good schools equip their students with learning tools and study habits; great schools equip their students with skills to succeed in life. And what are these life skills, exactly? Oftentimes, they are as simple as knowing how to read, write, and understand numbers. Starting in elementary school, students who struggle with literacy and numeracy skills begin to fall behind, and by high school, students lacking the ability to fully comprehend literature or grasp math are going to have an incredibly difficult time achieving their academic goals.

There is one particular academic and life skill that is considered to be the single greatest indicator of a student’s success compared to any other: literacy. Over the past few decades, the amount that students read and the amount that students are expected to read has changed inversely; despite the curriculum demanding higher levels of reading comprehension, children are picking up books less and less often. This growing gap between skills and requirements has forced schools to take action, leading to nearly every school in Alberta having some form of literacy program, from elementary all the way to high school.

To learn about how my school has been supporting students’ literacy, I spoke to Ms. Charanduk, an English teacher as well as H.J’s literacy lead. Our literacy programs, she explained, are focused on all aspects of reading, writing, and comprehension. In the Grade 9 program, the class is not simply an extra English class – there are no reading comprehension tests, just interesting projects and activities paired with reading time. For Grades 10 and 11, Reading 15/25 courses are available to students to support their literacy development throughout the rest of their high school career. As you can see through these programs, H.J. Cody cares very much about helping students grow their literacy skills and reading confidence, regardless of how early or late in their education – it is never too late to learn! Ms. Charanduk explained that reading is a ‘soft skill’, which is a skill that is gained over time with consistent practice. Growing one’s literacy skills can be a slow process, but the school hopes that students will reap the benefits of their dedication by seeing improvements in their comprehension along with a new found appreciation for literature. If you want to succeed not just in high school, but in life, learning to love reading is the first step to take.

One of the most complained-about subjects in school is undoubtedly math. Like the Grade 9 literacy class, numeracy is a class held every second day in the semester where students are not taking math. The acting senior high vice principal and math teacher, Ms. Schaab, outlined the goals of the program, which are to help students improve their mental math skills, pattern recognition, and real-life number skills.

Both the numeracy and literacy programs have been running for three years, and have been constantly improving; the plan that seems to work best for numeracy is spending the first half of the semester practicing math skills, and the second half beginning curriculum, in order to slow the pace of the math class down and allow more time for students to grasp concepts. By spending time exploring numbers and how they work, the school hopes to make mathematics a much less daunting subject for students.

By high school, it is common to forget that the goal of secondary education is not to pass exams, or complete homework, or even to earn a diploma. The purpose of school is to learn, and to gain fundamental skills and knowledge that will aid you throughout life.

Knowing how to read and write not just at an acceptable level, but proficiently and with enjoyment, are key habits for success and will prove advantageous in countless areas of life. Having a base understanding of numbers – knowing why math works, instead of simply how to do it – provides not only insight into the subject, but also an appreciation for mathematics.

Everyone is capable of reading, writing, and doing mathematics in a competent and skillful way, regardless of previous experience or circumstances. At school, at home, and in our community, let’s all help one another to believe in our own ability, so we can achieve the success we are capable of achieving.

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Photo Courtesy of the Town of Sylvan Lake
Multiple edible parks found throughout Sylvan Lake

Apple trees, berry bushes and more have been planted in various parks around town

Curtis Labelle. (Photo Submitted)
More exciting music to come from Sylvan Lake’s Curtis Labelle

Curtis Labelle has been called Canadian Elton John or Billy Joel by fans

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday June 12th, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read