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Youth Communication helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing, so that they can succeed in school and at work and contribute to their communities. [more]
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For Educators
Helping Educators Reach Reluctant Readers
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The Core Curriculum Standards in language arts set new, higher standards for reading and writing. That presents a particularly difficult challenge for teachers who work with teens who are far behind in their skills.

Youth Communication’s stories and other materials address this challenge in several critical ways:

1) They activate reading: The best way to improve reading skills is to read more. Struggling and reluctant readers are eager to read Youth Communication stories, even on their own time.

2) They activate prior knowledge: Teens with weak reading skills are often asked to analyze the form and content of writing for which they have little background knowledge. This is like trying to change a tire while driving the car.

Because the themes and experiences in Youth Communication stories are familiar, students can focus on developing analytical and skills and strengthening writing mechanics. Our stories are ideal for teaching topics like theme and plot, thesis and evidence, scene and description, as well as for teaching language arts basics, like introductions, conclusions, and transitions. Because students are not lost in the content, they can focus on learning the form.

Youth Communication stories are also helpful in teaching students how to develop a “stance” or meaningful opinion about a text.

3) They bridge to more complex literature: Once students begin to really understand concepts like theme and plot, the importance of developing an informed opinion about a piece of writing, and the moves that writers make to craft their essays, students can apply that knowledge to reading and writing increasingly complex texts. 

4) They activate positive identities: There is strong evidence that activating positive school identities—i.e, the idea that there is a meaningful connection between school success and success in life—increases academic performance. It makes students more motivated to do well in school, and helps them to reframe difficult assignments from something that is “not them” to something that is “worth the effort.” By providing credible peer examples, Youth Communication stories activate positive identities.

5) They support differentiated instruction: Like much good writing, the language in Youth Communication stories is easily accessible, but the themes are complex and varied. The stories are suitable for—and are regularly used in—settings ranging from pre-GED programs to freshman comp classes in college.

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