6 strategies to help apprentices overcome reading challenges

Many apprentices, regardless of Essential Skill level, do not spend a lot of time reading outside the classroom. As a result, they may need more practice in reading regulations, standards and codebooks. You can help apprentices to overcome reading challenges by drawing attention to the way text is organised and by teaching reading strategies.

1. Identify the purpose for reading

To help apprentices with low reading skills, explain:

  • why the apprentices are reading the material (for example, to learn about welding using oxy-acetylene)
  • what the apprentices are supposed to know when they have finished reading (for example, to learn the definition of a term such as “mechanical advantage)

2. Give a focus for reading

Using the questions at the end of a chapter in a textbook is one way to give apprentices a focus for reading. Questions indicate what is important in a chapter.


3. Preview reading material

Ask questions to draw attention to notes, tables of contents, chapter objectives, paragraph headings, glossaries, appendices and indexes. Have apprentices use these organizational features to locate information.

Example: What is the subject of the notes under RJC-50?

4. Teach how to identify keywords, main points and other important information

Demonstrate how to highlight the important words by using highlighters.

Example: What us the purpose of a regulator?

5. Provide practice locating information in headings, chapters and paragraphs using keywords

Keywords are the words in a question that help apprentices locate the answer in the text.

6. Teach apprentices how to integrate information from different parts of the text or several sources

Example: Demonstrate how to combine notes on one topic in one place. Suggest using sticky notes to organize information that is located in more than one location.

Reading strategies are important to teach in technical training to increase skill level. Previewing material, identifying key words and main points, locating and integrating information all contribute towards apprentices becoming focused and efficient readers.

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