BYU Radio

21st Century Skills

There is a lot of talk in education today about how we can ensure that students are ready for college and the workplace. We want students to independently be able to apply the skills needed for success in these venues. While all skills related to literacy—reading, writing, speaking, listening—are important, there is a broader set of literacy skills we address that are termed 21st Century Skills. These skills focus is on the patterns of thinking and communication that students will be expected to engage in throughout their lives and into the future. This changes our focus from not only reading, writing, and math, but also puts in on communication, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, technology, citizenship, information literacy, and life skills. These new skills are the complex aspects of education. Sadly, many of the current educational approaches often focus more on what could be considered lower levels of thinking. However, these lower level skills are not always those that are necessary to compete in the twenty-first century environments. Modern colleges and workplaces require higher order skills such as analysis and synthesis. This does not mean that we will abandon lower order skills in any way (comprehension and knowledge skills are still fundamental), but we are being asked to diversify our understanding of all the skills that make a person literate. With an increased emphasis on 21st Century Skills that require higher order thinking, it is now up to teachers, librarians, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas to start thinking about how we can help our children refine and use their abilities to discover, use, and apply all of these skills now and in the future. Our children need to become good communicators, have opportunities to collaborate with others as a team, authentically express their creativity while problem-solving, and engage as citizens of a global work. Here at Worlds Awaiting we believe that combined with the basics of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, the critical 21st Century Skills are going to help make children ready for college and workplace.


By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING



At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.