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     Literacy is the gateway to all areas of development (economic, social, emotional, cognitive, vocational, etc.). We learn to read in order to understand the world. While the number of readers has grown, comprehension stays alarmingly low. Pre-Texts engages students to use texts creatively in order to interpret and master them.

Pre-Texts trains educators to facilitate art-making practices from texts that students may find difficult or even boring. Turning difficulty into artistic challenges takes the fear away and relieves some anxiety that young people feel. After a short while, students can develop their talent for democratic leadership by facilitating Pre-Texts activities, because they don’t need to command much content in order to master the protocol for group learning.

  • Objectives

    • Support youth development (decrease fear and depression; increase learning)

    • Recognize interpretation (through arts) as the vehicle for discovery

    • Provoke curiosity to learn more

  • Method

    • Engage tactile and performative arts for different learning styles

    • Use a chosen theme to generate readings and artmaking (see How?)

    • Read aloud and ask questions

    • Participants follow their tangents to discover more connections with the theme

    • Meet regularly in groups with Pre-Texts facilitator (3x per week)

  • Target audience

    • Local youth who want to improve interpretive and leadership skills

    • ESL students

    • Immigrants learning English

    • Seniors who can support youth

  • Desired outcomes

    • Increased engagement in community stewardship projects

    • Maintenance of learning between academic years

    • Improved literacy scores in school (see Why?)

    • Richer intergenerational dialogue through Interpretation of history and nature

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Literacy

  • Indicator of development in all fields (economic, political, emotional, etc.).

  • Stimulates imagination in order to comprehend texts.

  • Inspires personal expression.

  • Engages a range of experiences at a safe distance.

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Innovation

  • Starts with creativity, a universal human drive.

  • Depends on facts and critical reflection.

  • Requires reinterpretation of given material.

  • Develops best with a diversity of proposals.

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Citizenship

  • Derives from diversity as a source of pleasure.

  • Thrives on admiration of everyone for everyone.

  • Appreciates facts and critical reflections.

  • Recombines materials and experiences.