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Dubai School Calls for Critical Literacy Skills

By Lourdes Lanote
Dubai School Calls for Critical Literacy Skills

In a world littered with 140-character thought fragments, the Universal American School (UAS) community celebrated the revolutionary power of literacy with a week-long event that engaged over 1,400 students, 150 teachers, and 120 support staff, as well as parents and administrators.
With unique reading events such as the “100,000-Page Challenge,” “Drop Everything and Read,” “Buddy Reading,” and “Read it Forward,” the UAS Literacy Week also included author visits and video conferences, as well as musical literacy performances, debates, rap battles, and other creative activities that engaged students school-wide.
“It’s a common misconception that literacy is just about reading more books,” shared Andrew Torris, Director at UAS. “Covering the abilities to read, comprehend, analyze, write, solve problems—as well as design, access, and use technology—literacy forms the core of how individuals engage with the world around them, and is truly the key to unlocking one’s full potential and determines future success.”
By placing a greater focus on literacy, UAS is on a quest to provide its students with the tools necessary to function in the world beyond school, as confident, knowledgeable, and empowered citizens of the future. Launched to promote literacy, and designed to complement the UAS literacy program, this first edition of the UAS Literacy Week marks a multi-year journey to further deepen the school’s literacy programs in all areas of its curriculum.
The Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) event opened Literacy Week, where everyone—from teachers to students, principals, support staff, and parents—simultaneously dropped whatever they happened to be doing and read. Inspired by the author Beverly Cleary, the event is simply a reminder to people of all ages that they should make reading a part of their daily lives.
“Research suggests that the more a person reads, the more successful they are likely to be in all aspects of their lives,” said Michelle Webster, UAS Literacy Coach, stressing the importance of fostering an appreciation of reading in students and developing lifelong literacy skills. “We’ve even organized for older children to read to the younger ones, which is anticipated to be a great success!” Buddy Reading is proven to be a rewarding activity for both students in the pair; older students can improve their own fluency while building self-esteem and responsibility, and younger students are motivated by their older reading buddies.
Other exciting happenings included a visit by author Steve Swinburne, a digital poster exhibit to promote literacy, a character dress-up day, monologues, a book drive, home language read-aloud sessions, environmental literacy initiatives, a quiz bowl, and more.
UAS is an Esol Education school, part of a family of nine international schools, serving over 11,000 students in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Cairo, Nicosia, and Lebanon. With over 40 years of excellence, Esol Education is a leading provider of high quality K-12 international education.

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05/20/2016 - Greg alias 'squeaks'
Quite agree. Literacy affects everything in the world. Much of the problems with arithmetic and basic maths too is that people say "I can't do it." However, in reality they have not understood the problem and frequently are not able to extract the information to determine the question. Literacy can solve this.

Literacy more than any language opens the doors to a wealth of empowerment and imagination and worlds of new territory.

Well done UAS. Light the way with literacy.



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