Over 6 million U.S. students in grades 8–12 are struggling readers (Joftus, 2002). One in four adolescents cannot read well enough to identify the main idea in a passage or to understand informational text (Kamil, 2003). ACT, a leading producer of college admission tests, reports that approximately 50% of high school graduates in 2005 did not have the reading skills they needed to succeed in college because the ability to read dense technical text is the greatest predictor of college success (Arenson, 2005). Furthermore, results from ACT’s WorkKeys program—an assessment of foundational skills for workplace success—indicate that young people need reading skills comparable to those of college freshmen in order to secure jobs that pay more than minimum wage but don’t require a four-year college degree (ACT, 2003).
Literacy demands in today’s workplace have accelerated. High school graduates are required to interpret a wide range of reference materials: journal articles, memoranda, and other documents that may contain technical information, including intricate charts and graphs. Increasingly, they are expected to judge the credibility of sources, evaluate arguments, develop and defend their own conclusions, and convey complex information in ways that will either advance scholarship in a discipline or contribute to workplace productivity—skills well beyond the reach of poor readers.
Improving content literacy in all academic areas is CPHS’s school goal.
The resources provided will facilitate that objective.