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Arkansas State University

Reading Skills Are Necessary in All Subjects

A great deal of learning today depends on literacy. Learning to understand communication, recognize written information and process the data it contains is the cornerstone of learning in any discipline. In fact, given the prevalence of modern technology, literacy — as students and teachers have traditionally understood the term — is a broader concept than it once was. Because we now process data available via media ranging from text messages to video games, digital literacy is an essential part of the modern student’s education.

The Importance of Reading Skills

Digital literacy and reading skills are necessary in every subject. Whether delving into the transcript of a speech for a history course, studying the nuances of a persuasive essay, gathering information on a mathematical theory, or researching the latest discovery in quantum physics, the ability to read competently is arguably the most important tool in a student’s educational skill set. By enrolling in a Master of Science in Education in Reading degree program, educators can study the importance of teaching reading to students in all subject areas, as well as methods of integrating literacy-rich educational experiences.

The Multidisciplinary Approach to Reading

A beneficial way to approach multidisciplinary reading instruction is to present content that depends on reading for its learning outcomes — especially content that engages students individually with the internal motivation to continue challenging their reading abilities. In this way, reading skills become necessary in every subject, but so do the real-life subject-matter contexts and student motivations to improve.

Interestingly, research has also shown that general, unassigned reading correlates with a higher level of student performance in seemingly unrelated subjects. Decades ago, studies showed that young children whose parents read to them regularly demonstrated performance improvements in three categories: vocabulary, spelling and (unexpectedly) math. This suggests that developing as a reader helps improve a student’s overall ability to process new concepts and new information.

Moreover, recent studies have found that secondary school-aged students who read for pleasure on their own show even higher relative performance levels in the same three categories than students who do not read for pleasure. This further supports the claim that reading is important to all areas of learning.

Appealing to Individuals

Research on differentiated learning supports multidisciplinary reading instruction. This instructional method accommodates the unique learning styles of individual students to increase engagement. Students process information in different ways, so through scaffolding, teachers can present information to students in ways that best meet their learning needs. Reading, visual presentations, lectures, or tactile learning are a few examples of processing styles that help students expand upon what they already know while learning new forms of processing.

Reading skills are the cornerstone of the broader idea of general learning literacy, which is necessary in multidisciplinary environments — and beyond the walls of the school. Including challenging reading materials to appeal to students’ varying interests in all classes can motivate students to improve their own reading. These ideas and more are available for study in an online Master of Science in Education in Reading degree program. Teachers develop the necessary skills based on the latest research and current best practices to help students develop their reading abilities in ways that enhance learning itself.

Learn about the A-State online MSE in Reading program.


Edutopia: How Important is Teaching Literacy in All Content Areas?

The Telegraph: Reading for pleasure “boosts pupils’ results in maths”

ASCD: Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents

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