According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, a staggering 32 million adults across the U.S. cannot read. In addition, over 45 million adults in the U.S. are functionally illiterate and read below a fifth grade level.
To combat statistics like these, it is important to deploy mindfulness in the context of personalized learning. Defined as the ability to redirect oneself back to the present with compassion, mindfulness is the foundation of literacy. Mindfulness helps struggling readers focus on the text at hand, while equipping them with social and emotional tools to be compassionate with themselves in the learning process.
One great way for instructors to help students access mindfulness in this way is by making literacy fun and personalized to each learner’s unique abilities. For instance, I ask my students to fulfill the requirements of one of four rotating roles and discuss their findings in both small and large group settings. The aforementioned roles include capable connector, right question reporter, savvy summarizer, and vigilant visionary. The requirements of each role are, as follows:
These roles empower students to mindfully connect with the text at hand in ways that align with their unique learning styles. In turn, students are more likely to decode what they are reading in meaningful ways. Together, let’s bridge the illiteracy gap once and for all!