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Promoting reading comprehension while teaching a trade

Secondary level vocational training (VT) centres cater to a diverse population of students with varied and sometimes challenging educational backgrounds, many of whom have low literacy skills. At the same time, VT and the jobs it leads to increasingly require complex reading on print and digital media, and the study programs do not include activities for improving student literacy.

The students surveyed were unanimous about the benefits of the project.

Since the research-action team had no model for the teaching of reading strategies by VT teachers on which to base its work, it turned to an adaptation of the Reading Apprenticeship (RA) approach.

The results obtained based on the declared and observed practices of some twenty secretarial, accounting and computer support teachers show that the teachers were able to appropriate and integrate the key elements of this approach in a structured way, and then increasingly spontaneously; they successfully integrated five reading comprehension strategies according to the needs of their students and the difficulty of the texts; they used strategy modelling and developed proficiency in guided practice.

The students surveyed were unanimous about the benefits of the project. The practices of their teachers fostered the development of reading autonomy and a better understanding of the vocabulary. When they experienced reading difficulties, they took part in the search for solutions. The teachers emphasized the direct effects of the RA approach on student engagement in learning.


Main researcher: Chantal Ouellet, Université du Québec à Montréal

Original title: Enseigner à mieux lire dans le contexte de l’enseignement d’un métier en formation professionnelle du secondaire

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