The Importance of Linking Literacy to Career

Literacy With the "Why": How Connecting Literacy and Career Can Transform Kids' Futures edLeader Panel recording screenshot

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Literacy is essential for all jobs—whether you need to know how to read and write a service proposal, report card comments, or a case study. But students don’t often make that connection—they see their classwork as something assigned to them and that they need to get through rather than as something that can help them with their future goals. When kids understand the why behind their education, it takes on new meaning for them.

During the edLeader Panel “Literacy With the “Why”: How Connecting Literacy and Career Can Transform Kids’ Futures,” the presenters discussed their key takeaways from creating and implementing programs that link literacy and career goals.

Get to Know the Whole Child

Teachers and staff at the school should find out about students’ interests, hopes, challenges, etc. Then, they should incorporate these interests into the curriculum.

Keep Education Records for the Whole Child

As students progress through your school system, you need to know more than their grades and attendance records. Track their activities, their career goals, and their overall aspirations. Make the records available to parents so they can be a part of the process. Show the kids and their families that you are invested in their futures.

Step Outside Your School Community

Educators have been in school since they were little and never left. Talk with police officers, businesspeople, local leaders, etc. Ask them what skills they need in their employees and how schools can support them. Then, connect those skills with the curriculum. Every occupation has a Lexile score—find out what they are and let the students know too so they understand their objectives.

Expose Students to Career Options from the Beginning

Student interests will change, and, of course, the discussions need to be age appropriate. But still, kids need to see the variety of options available and understand what skills they need to be successful in those careers. Show your students that they have options and how education can help them grab these opportunities.

Don’t Devalue Labor and the Military

A common misconception is that these are fallback positions, but these are vibrant fields that also want engaged, confident students. Many children might be interested in these positions if they can learn more about them.

Implement Technology Systems that Support Teachers and Extend Learning

Teachers want their students to have the ability to learn at home, at work, and in the community. Students should be able to access all of their work wherever they need to. In addition, any edtech should give educators tools that help them better reach and teach their students.

Give All Students Access to Every Lesson

Using a platform like Beable, teachers can get help with differentiating instruction so that they can focus on assisting the students rather than spending their time trying to make the content work for each one.

Ultimately, the goal is to intertwine the pursuit of career skills with literacy instruction so that students build agency and take ownership of their futures. Give them access to the data and show them that the adults in their school care about them and their futures.

As soon as young people leave their front door, they are exposed to the world of work. They begin to see and hear themes that talk about their place in the world. Educators have the responsibility to have conversations early on with students before their beliefs and self-identity become limiting.

Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, Literacy With the “Why”: How Connecting Literacy and Career Can Transform Kids’ Futures, sponsored by Beable.

Watch the RecordingListen to the Podcast

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Real World Literacy is a free professional learning community where educators can learn and collaborate on ways to help students develop interests, abilities, and skills that can prepare them for life beyond school and college.

BeableBeable is the Life-Ready Literacy Company. Its groundbreaking Life-Ready Literacy System intertwines social-emotional growth with literacy acceleration in core content areas, career exposure, and ACT/SAT prep. Powered by the BeableIQ automation engine, Beable provides the first multi-dimensional solution connecting literacy to life readiness and, ultimately, to lifelong success for K-12 students.

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Article by Stacey Pusey, based on this edLeader Panel