North Carolina CTE Students Increase Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills

Strategies That Work
Atoniea Boykins

Atoniea Boykins, career management and Microsoft IT Academy teacher at East Rutherford High School in Bostic, North Carolina, is training in the strategies of the Literacy Design Collaborative. She finds that her students are learning more and becoming stronger writers as a result of working in collaborative groups.

Since beginning LDC training, she has noticed a difference in her own teaching style and how her students learn. She shares her experiences below:

Pulling Together the Pieces

I start each major assignment with an essential question. I never really understood scaffolding or building on students’ prior knowledge. But I understand now that the essential question is what sparks students to think about the topic and answer the question in their own words.

LDC has helped me to pull together the pieces while assisting students with reading and writing skills.

I give them a set of materials to read that helps them gather information on the essential question. Once they’ve read the materials, they meet in collaborative groups to share insights, with each taking notes about the others’ understanding of the material. Students reread the materials, refine their notes and start outlining their papers.

Annotation is now a big part of my classroom learning environment, and it helps students to read and extract important information. My students are more open to learning because they realize today’s workplace is an ever-learning environment.

Students are discovering the techniques of reading, writing and doing research while producing a written paper on a technical subject. Their ability to express their understanding of very complex materials in writing is far greater than I ever anticipated.

Students Learn While Teaching Each Other

LDC training has changed how I teach as it relates to writing assignments. As I teach my students, I first must know their learning styles. The team approach works well in my class. Once I put students in collaborative groups to work on specific projects or topics, I expect students to learn from each other.

I really believe the quote from Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Students prefer to work in teams and in a hands-on environment. They are more energetic and learn more from each other. They not only learn the concept of teamwork, annotating, breaking up assignments and collaborating about the topic, but they understand that it is about learning. Good writing is needed in the workplace. But students must understand the technique of writing, and this is something that they are working on in the classroom. 

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The Southern Regional Education Board provides middle grades and high schools in member states with intensive professional development in leading-edge literacy and math strategies that enhance students’ abilities to meet college- and career-readiness standards. The training is offered at no cost to qualifying schools in member states except Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee.* Pass this information on to your peers: superintendents, principals, math and literacy supervisors, and others who might consider offering this professional development to teachers. Contact us to share your successes. No-cost teacher training: We are offering training in your area now. Contact us to register your school team. * Training fees negotiated separately for direct contract states.