LEARNING

Why are literacy skills important for students?

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Why are literacy skills important for students

Literacy skills include all the basic skills that are required for the process of reading, writing, and interpreting everything that goes around us. There are so many literacy skills, including reading, writing, speaking, listening, and other aspects related to these, that make up the complete skill set and allow a person to be more aware of the happenings around them and how to make perceptions and interpretations about them.

Here we have discussed some of the main literacy skills that are required for students to be able to fully gain knowledge from the elements around and you can also learn these skills from our private tutors.

What are literacy skills?

In order to gain knowledge from our surroundings, there is a need for us to have a basic skill set with which we can absorb and give out the learned info. We can not gain knowledge by simply having a single literacy skill. For instance, if we are aware of what a word sounds like but we have no idea how to read it when we see it in a sentence in front of us, we lack the basic skills of literacy, due to which we will not be able to gain all the knowledge that we are supposed to otherwise.

There are many literacy skills that make up the whole skillset. Let’s discuss how each of these literacy skills needed can be beneficial in individual aspects for the process of gaining knowledge in a child’s everyday environment.

Reading skills

The process of reading is quite simple yet a bit complicated. Reading is a process that involves visually observing the written elements and interpreting the meaning behind them by analyzing the connection and relation between them.

Usually, it has been observed that reading skills can have a major impact on the academic life of students. If they get a grip of reading skills at an early stage, they are more likely to perform better in their academic field because reading is considered the basic step involved in the process of gaining knowledge.

Children should be encouraged through classroom activities if they like reading books, articles, journals, etc. The reading skill is further divided into some other basic skills related to reading as discussed below:

reading

Decoding

Decoding is the skill involved in the process of reading in which a person tries to read out a written word that they have heard before but haven’t seen in a written form. In this way, when a person sees a word in the written form for the first time, they are actually decoding the word because they are analyzing how to read that word correctly.

Being able to decode is an important part of the reading process because you will encounter words that are new to you, and to know how to read them, you will have to know how to decode them.

To decode a word, you need to know what different letters look like, how they sound like, and how a relationship is established between them. When children are aware of these basic things, they will be able to decode the words written in front of them.

Phonics

Being aware of phonics is also an essential component of the reading process. It involves the knowledge of the sounds that are made by certain letters, alphabets, and their connection with each other. Each alphabet makes a certain sound that distinguishes them from each other.

When these letters are written together, along with the meaning, the sound of the whole word is also changed. In order to know the sound made by the word, students need to be aware of the sound made by each letter present in the word.

In this way, we can figure out how to say out aloud the written word. For better understanding, you can start with any children’s book you like.

To Be able to read properly, we need to be aware of what a certain letter or word sounds like. Otherwise, we will be spelling out the words wrong, which will make the whole reading process wrong.

Grammar and vocabulary

In order to be able to read perfectly and have ease in word recognition, students need to have a good grip on grammar and vocabulary. This involves knowing the meaning of words that are being read. Being able to merely read without knowing what the meaning of the word that has been written is is quite useless and does not help in the process of gaining knowledge.

The knowledge-gaining process will remain bland if you are unaware of what you are reading, and knowing about that, you need to get a solid grip on grammar and vocabulary. For this, you need to keep a check on any new word you encounter and search about what it means so that the next time you are reading it, you will know the meaning of it and what you are actually reading.

Being fluent

When you have gotten a grip on other main components of the reading process, then you need to be fluent in your reading in order to easily read, understand and comprehend the text. Without fluency, you will be taking many breaks in the process. You wouldn’t be able to read properly and understand the meaning of the text if you are not reading it in a fluent way; rather, you are taking a pause after every second.

In order to gain maximum knowledge while reading something, you should be able to read it in a flow and without breaking the tempo you are reading in. This makes it easy for you to gain knowledge from your reading material.

Comprehension

This refers to the process of understanding the text you are reading. Whatever text has been written, there will be some meaning behind it. It could be a fictional story or a newspaper; there will be a meaning behind the words that have been assembled together.

Reading a text and not being able to understand what it means is not quite useful. It is equally important that you know what you are reading by understanding the meaning behind all the words and their connections with each other.

From reading a storybook to reading an academic one, there is no point in reading it if you do not understand the meaning present behind the words. So this is one of the basic steps if you have gained the grip over reading skills; getting to know the meaning of what you are reading.

Writing skills

The process of writing mainly involves the idea of sharing thoughts and ideas through the use of words and letters written down. A person writes down his thoughts using letters, grammar, punctuation, and more so that the other person can read and understand the thoughts.

Just like reading is quite essential for the process of gaining knowledge, the skill of expressing your thought process through writing is equally important beginning from the time of a child’s primary education.

There are several skills that collectively make up the whole skillset of writing and help children achieve better. Let’s discuss these skills that are quite important if you wish to gain excellency in writing and eventually gain maximum knowledge.

Writing skills

Researching

This is one of the major skills required to write correctly. You need to know what you are writing about before you start writing. You can’t simply write words that have no connection with each other. Whenever you start writing down about something, you make sure that whatever you are writing makes sense; otherwise, your literacy skills will lack a major element.

In this way, it is important to find out about the things you are writing about so that you can actually gain knowledge through your writing skills and ensure literacy development.

Grammar and vocabulary

You don’t want your writing to be bland and composed of simply a few kinds of words all over. This requires you to have an expanded vocabulary. Writing good content means adding a diversified range of words and connecting them in a way that the reader would be engaged and willingly invest their time reading it all.

Your grammar and vocabulary are going to decide whether your written material is good, average, or not engaging at all. You can express your thoughts and ideas with simple wordings too, but when you choose to express them with good grammar, your expression will be much better.

So in order to enhance your literacy skills and knowledge, you need to work on improving your grammar and vocabulary.

Working on your grammar will help you to come across new words to be used.

Structure and outline

Good writing material starts with a proper structure and outline. The outline basically decides what you are writing about and gives structure to your material. Without an outline, your content will have no direction, and I will lead nowhere. Even if you are writing a single sentence, there needs to be structure in it that defines the purpose of the whole line.

When there is no structure, there will be no purpose, and eventually, for the reader, there will be no meaning of what they are reading. In order to make sure that you are making sense of what you are writing about, create an outline first, either in your head or in a written form, then form up the structure for it and start writing.

Connection and relativity

You need to know how to rightly make a good connection between different words to rightly express and convey your message. If your words are not connecting right or if you have not used them in the right way, the message you have written down will be conveyed and perceived in a different way. You don’t want the reader to get a totally different message from your text, nor do you want them to be lost trying to figure out what they are reading.

For this purpose, you need to know how to rightly build up a connection between words. This is a major part of improving your writing skills, getting to know how to rightly build a relation between the given words and sentences.

Punctuation

Punctuation is one of the basic elements when it comes to writing. The context of your sentence highly depends on your usage of punctuation in it. The small punctuation elements like a comma or full stop have the power of changing the whole context of your line.

You need to make sure that you are using the right punctuation in the right place to make the reader know the correct meaning behind the sentence. For this purpose, you need to improve your skills related to punctuation and its usage so that your written text will not be misleading for the reader.

Proofreading

Whenever you are done writing something, you need to proofread it and look for any mistakes you might have made or any places where you might have missed to add something important. Proofreading allows you to analyze your own written material, which is very important when it comes to improving the quality of your writing.

Instead of making someone else proofread and recheck your work, make sure you do it on your own because finding your own mistakes and correcting them will help you know what things you should avoid while writing and what things you need to keep in mind.

Listening skills

Lately, it has been observed that people having good listening skills usually have good reading skills. When children are listening and comprehending the meaning of what they listened to, this improves their literacy skills overall and enables them to comprehend better when it comes to reading and writing.

Children who lack the ability to listen, observe and comprehend what they hear often tend to be behind when it comes to other literacy skills such as reading or writing.

There are several skills related to the process of active listening that makes up the whole skillset of listening. Teachers can help students work on these skills in their early years. Let’s discuss some of these skills.

Listening skills

Varying sounds awareness

The basic skill involved in the process of active listening is the ability to distinguish between different sounds. For this, a child needs to be aware of the varying sounds. Different species have different sounds, as a human voice differs from the sound of a cat or a dog. Similarly, the voices of two persons differ from each other. The voice of the two alphabets in the English language differs from each other as well. This can be taught to students from early years through classroom activities.

You must know how to differentiate between two varying sounds so that you focus on the source of the meaning of the sound rather than being lost when trying to figure out what kind of sound it is.

The meaning of the sound will not be interpreted right if you don’t know what you are listening to. In this way, this skill becomes the base of your listening skills.

Communication

This is also an important aspect of listening. Children who tend to have good communication skills are often good at listening and understanding what they are hearing. We often tend to gain knowledge from what we hear, and for that, we need to have good hearing skills to comprehend the right meaning.

For this purpose, you need to make sure that when you are communicating with someone, listen to them carefully too. Listen and observe to understand what the a=other person is saying. This can help you greatly in enhancing your communication skills, and eventually, your literacy skills will be improved as well.

Attention and response

Your ability to listen attentively matters a lot when it comes to good listening skills. If you are not paying attention to what you are listening to, you won’t be able to know the real meaning of the sound you are hearing. If you want to develop good reading or writing skills, you first need to make sure that you are listening to the sounds around you with more attention.
Listen to documentaries from web resources. Make sure to listen attentively as this will help you to listen properly.

On the other hand, your response after listening greatly depends on what and how you have listened. The extent of your attention will determine your perception of what you have heard, and in turn, your response will be dependent on that.

Your response basically shows the level of your literacy skills, and if that is disturbed because you weren’t paying attention to what you were listening to, then your literacy skills as a whole will be disturbed.

Comprehension

Comprehension of what you listen to highly depends on your ability to perceive something. When two people are listening to the same thing, they will comprehend it differently.

Suppose there is a loud thud voice in a class that was heard by all students without knowing the source. Some would perceive it to be a fallen desk, and some would say that it was a book that fell down, and so there will be different perceptions of the sound.
In this way, the way you comprehend the meaning of what you have heard matters a lot when it comes to your listening skills because, in the end, it’s only the meaning that will determine what you have gained from listening to the material.

In order to understand the meaning of what they are listening to, students need to improve their comprehension skills so that they are not merely consuming knowledge without any meaning.

Speaking skills

The ability to speak effectively and having good speaking skills make people communicate efficiently and make the other person understand the information you have conveyed in a better way. The perception or comprehension of your message by another person mainly depends on how you are conveying it using the speaking skills you have.

The expression of the knowledge you have gained depends on how you let the other person know about it by spoken language. If you fail to do it right based on poor speaking skills, it will simply demonstrate that you lack basic literacy skills.

Let’s some of the basic speaking skills that are required to improve your whole skillset related to speaking.

Speaking skills

Phonics awareness

Phonics awareness refers to the ability to distinguish between different sounds made by the letters and alphabets. To speak in a fluent way correctly, you must know what the different sounds made by the letters and how they change when they are combined with other letters to make a word or a sentence are. If you are making the wrong sound of a particular letter in a word, it will automatically change the sound of the whole word. In this way, the meaning of that word will be lost.

In the early stage, children should be made aware of the sounds made by the alphabet for early literacy development. With a child, you can practice this by singing songs like baba black sheep or Old Mcdonald because such things help to learn faster.

When they say out the word with the right sound, they will eventually be able to speak very fluently and in the right way rather than wrongly pronounced words.

Pronunciation

Pronunciation is the key element of speaking. If you are able to read the word correctly, but you fail to speak it right, the listener will not understand what you are trying to convey. They will simply assume that you are unaware of the matter even when you have the knowledge of it.

In this way, if you want to express your knowledge rightly, you have to make sure that you are pronouncing the word correctly. There are certain ways through which common words and letters are pronounced, and that pronunciation is used by many people. They will only understand the common pronunciation of that word and will fail to understand if you pronounce it in some other way.

Concentration

While you are speaking, you need to be aware of your surroundings, and your concentration must stay. You will only speak in a fluent way if you are concentrated on what you are speaking. Losing concentration will make you forget about what you are going to say or what’s the meaning behind your conversation.

Whatever you are speaking about will simply lose its meaning if you have lost your concentration. So in order to speak and talk in the right way to convey your message to the listener, you will have to keep your concentration right in place.

Volume and clarity

Your volume should be moderately adjustable during your speaking. You need to adapt the volume level in accordance with your surroundings. You need to be aware of being loud or too low. If you are being too loud in a setting where you should speak low or in a high volume required setting, you are speaking too low; in both scenarios, you won’t be able to convey your message in an effective way. To make your message be vivid and audible, you should make sure that you are speaking at the right volume that is not too high and not too low. In this way, the meaning of your message will be rightly heard.

On the other hand, your voice should be clear. Make sure that your voice is not breaking off while you are talking. An unclear voice will convey a rather unclear message properly.

Pace and rhythm

While you are speaking, you need to have a normal pace that can easily be understood by the listener. If you are speaking too fast, the one who is listening will not be able to grasp the meaning of what you are saying. In the same way, if you are speaking too slow, the listener will lose interest in it.

The pace of what you are saying will determine the rhythm of your message. If you want to keep a normal rhythm going on, there should be an acceptable pace.

The two extremes of pace are too fast and too slow. It is known that talking at a pace that lies between these two extremes is the best way to keep the rhythm right and convey your message properly.

Importance of literacy skills

Basic literacy skills are very important in education and general life setting. From the beginning of learning, the development of literacy skills helps the students to score better, and then eventually, it helps them create a liveable life for themselves.

Let’s discuss some ways that make literacy skills important for us.

Importance of literacy skills

To score well

The academic life of students requires good knowledge of literacy skills. For the purpose of scoring well in the class, all literacy skills are interrelated. A child who has good literacy skills will be able to score well in the class in comparison to the student who lacks these skills. You should not only be consuming knowledge, but you should also be able to use it to score well.

To communicate effectively

Effective communication requires good literacy skills. If you lack basic literacy skills, you won’t be able to communicate and convey your message correctly. In this way, you will end up conveying a misleading message which you didn’t plan in the first place. Whether you wish to communicate with your peers, parents, or teachers, you need to be good with literacy skills.

To explore and score opportunities

People with good literacy skills tend to pick up more relevant and rewarding opportunities in comparison to those who lack the basic skills. Landing on a perfect opportunity will require you to have the basic skill set that ensures that you did not only find the opportunity but are also ideal for it, whether in the education field or practical one.

To stay aware

Basic literacy skills allow you to be aware of your surroundings. Listening to understand everyday news and current affairs, reading the labels of the products you are using, being engaged in a conversation with someone, all these mentioned examples require you to be well aware of what your response is based on the literacy skills.

Being a responsible citizen

You need to be responsible citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities. A person who has literacy skills can effectively be aware of it, and they will also be able to rightly implement it in their daily life routine. In this way, being a responsible citizen is highly dependent on your literacy skills and how you use them.

Earn and survive

In order to earn well and provide for themselves and their family, a person needs to have some basic literacy skills. Not only will it help them to land a good job, but it will also help them to perform well in it and reach higher positions. Without the skills, they would not be able to understand and convey the work in an ideal way.

Tips to improve your literacy skills

Improving your literacy is all about observation, analysis, practice, and conclusion. Constantly working on your literacy skills from a young age can help you achieve so much more in life. Here are some of the tips that can help you to improve your literacy skills.

Tips to improve your literacy skills

Read more often

Try reading about everything! Yes, by everything, we mean things that catch your interest, the things that are beneficial to read. Or simply anything to pass your time. Reading is always helpful for students to improve their literacy skills and focus.

While you are reading, you need to keep your focus straight on the content so that you can read and understand as well. Be it a magazine or novel you like or a newspaper telling you about current affairs with a column on the side stating the reason behind things or articles from web resources or the back of cereal boxes or even road signs, reading these things can greatly impact the level of your literacy skills.

You will not only be able to read better, but it will also allow you to be well aware of everything going on around you.

Look for meaning behind the text

Whenever you are looking at a particular text, try to look for its meaning and how you can relate it to your thought process. Looking for the meaning behind it will help you increase your knowledge horizons. Your grammar and vocabulary will be enhanced as well. Being a teacher, you can ask children the meanings of different words. In this way, children develop the habit of comprehending the written, read, heard, or spoken words, whether in the English language or any other language.

Develop the habit of storytelling

Children should be encouraged to develop a habit of storytelling. During bedtime, there should be 10 to 15 minutes given to children to either make up a story or talk about a story they know about. This will improve the speaking skills of children, also enabling them to be more creative with their thoughts and promoting literacy development.

Make notes

While you are reading or looking at something, try making notes or short references about it. This will help you to write better and to make your observations stronger. This is quite important for students to bring improvement to their overall literacy skills. With the notes you make, you will be able to keep track easily and increase your concentration span. Making notes requires you to focus closely on everything so that you don’t miss something important. In this way, your ability to focus on things is improved, and note down vocabulary words that you need to remember.

Summarize your readings

Whenever you finish reading something, try to summarize it on paper. It will enhance your writing ability. Other than this, it will enable you to observe and analyze your readings in a better way. You will be able to reflect on different things around you. Write down what you have read or seen and what your thoughts were behind the matter. With this habit, you will be able to convey your message better.

Language learning

Language is associated with the acquisition of literacy skills. If you want to master your literacy skills, you need to be proficient language learners at the same time because if your language knowledge is incomplete, you won’t be able to completely convey your literacy skills. Hence to master all the skills, you need to start being a language learner.

If you are a second language learner, the skill acquiring process might be a bit difficult for you, but with practice, you gain momentum. In this way, the learning of a basic language is an integral part of literacy and education.

There are several second language learners who can read children’s books with easy to understand active vocabulary to eventually master the English language literacy skills.

Conclusion

Literacy skills are important for everyone, especially students, to carry out the basic tasks in life. If you need to succeed in life, be a better person, or convey an impactful message across the room, then tour literacy skills must be good enough. The level of your literacy skills will determine how good you are at something.

This can include the way you speak, read, listen, write, and more.

Practice can help you to improve the basic literacy skills that can take you forward in life. If you wish to improve your literacy skills or are looking to get a strong grip on your grammar, our certified private English tutors can help you achieve your goals in the best way possible.

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Austin has 10+ years of experience in teaching. He has researched on thousands of students-related topics, issues, and concerns. You will often find him writing about the common concerns of students, their nutrition, and what is beneficial for their academics and health both.