RTC hosts conference on how to make students into purposeful readers

  • Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017

RENTON, Wash. – Educators and school administrators from all over the Northwest will meet at Renton Technical College (RTC) this Friday and Saturday to learn better ways to teach students to read, interpret and retain information in their disciplinary texts so they can succeed in college.

Renton Technical College is hosting the third annual Reading Apprenticeship conference on its campus at 3000 NE 4th St. in Renton. The conference offers practical techniques designed, researched, and tested by WestEd, an education research institution that developed the Reading Apprenticeship (RA) concept.

Though reading may seem like an elemental skill for any student entering college, studies and experience show that many students struggle to read and interpret the texts, assignments and other reading materials for their classes. The stumbling block is not so much literacy but the ability of students to grasp vocabulary and structures they are not familiar with.

“Students are insecure about reading and their reading level. They are not disciplinary readers and disciplinary reading is totally different,” said Michele Lesmeister, an instructor at RTC and the organizer of the conference. “For example, a historian knows how to approach a historical text, but he won’t be able to read a line of code in a book about software.”

The Reading Apprenticeship approach teaches instructors to make reading both a social and personal experience. Teachers learn to use guided questions and to show students how to break text into manageable chunks, allowing them to better understand and retain information.

Research shows that students in Reading Apprenticeship classrooms improve their literacy and their confidence and attitudes toward reading and disciplinary knowledge.

Renton Technical College adopted Reading Apprenticeship techniques in 2009. Faculty who have applied RA techniques say their students are more engaged and perform better.

Renton Technical College boasts one of the highest retention rates in the state, with 67 percent of students staying in their programs for a full year (compared with 61 percent statewide in the Washington state community and technical college system).

The Reading Apprenticeship conference starts this Friday at 2 p.m. in the cafeteria of Building I.
For a full schedule of sessions, visit http://www.rtc.edu/3rd-annual-reading-conference

For more information about WestEd and the Reading Apprenticeship approach, visit https://wested.org/project/reading-apprenticeship/

For more information contact:
Roberto Bonaccorso, Director of College Relations and Marketing
(425) 235-2356, rbonaccorso@rtc.edu