5 Principles For Building Literacy, Leadership, and Career Readiness Skills


Building literacy and leadership skills, with an emphasis on career readiness, are at the core of the Classroom Inc. mission. To deliver on this mission, the organization launched Read to Lead®, a comprehensive program developed through nearly 30 years of serving students and educators in high needs communities. Read to Lead® is based on five principles that stand out in helping to advance literacy, build leadership skills and equip students for future workplaces.

At the recent Million Words Read Celebration Breakfast, Executive Director Christina Oliver announced and outlined the guiding principles of Classroom Inc. and Read to Lead® that will set the stage for 2020. 

Five Guiding Principles

At the foundation of all learning lies the ability to read and understand. Reading proficiency is the number one predictor of a student’s success in high school, college, and career, which is why ensuring all students are equipped with the necessary skills to be competent readers is critical. Yet, reading is not something that comes naturally to every student. By offering an engaging reading experience within an immersive fictional workplace, Read to Lead® blasts through traditional reading barriers to shape proficient readers.

Apart from just reading, students need to develop skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. As the world and the workforce become increasingly more complex, providing youth with 21st-century skills will create the foundation for a lifetime of opportunity. Read to Lead® equips students with reading and writing skills they are sure to utilize in the workplace, along with essential skills necessary for successfully navigating the workplace.

Put middle school students into positions of power and leadership, and they will rise to the occasion. Classroom, Inc. intentionally creates characters that reflect the diversity of the communities it works with. Allowing students to see themselves in the characters of the games empowers them to pursue diverse career paths they may not have otherwise considered. Read to Lead® also gives students access to leadership opportunities and the opportunity to see themselves in positions of being able to enact change, a powerful experience that can inspire them.

In order for students to see value in what they are being taught, learning must be relevant. 81% of high school dropouts report that real-world learning opportunities would have improved their chances of staying in school. Read to Lead®Games give students the opportunity to experience over 30 careers, helping them make connections between curriculum and career. It also affords them the opportunity to see a variety of different paths that they could pursue that connect to their interests.

Across the country, a majority of parents and students have reported that they do not get recognized for their achievements, nor do they get celebrated for reaching new levels of success. Within the Read to Lead® platform, students get continual encouragement in the form of badges awarded for reaching certain milestones, and a leaderboard that tracks the number of words they’ve read both individually and as a class, which inspires and motivates them to keep striving for higher levels of excellence. In addition, Classroom Inc. creates moments to honor and student and educator achievements, through events such as the Million Words Read Celebration Breakfast. 

Based on these five guiding principles, Classroom Inc. has developed a platform and a community dedicated to equipping students with skills essential to facing the challenges of the future while keeping them engaged. One facet of this is the Million Words Read Challenge. Building on the success and momentum of the 2019 Million Words Read Challenge, the 2020 edition is set to reach even more students across the country.

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