Skills Development

As educators, we often identify key skills that our students need to learn, but it can be challenging to find activities that specifically address these skills. This part of the Design Lab is devoted to our evolving "Learning Genome" of essential skills, critical for college and career preparation. At this time, we have identified 45 skills. Accompanying each skill description is a growing catalog of associated activities.

As you explore, you will see that each skill is associated with specific learning strategies. The Search Filters will allow you to search for skills associated with individual Common Core Standards, specific content areas, etc.


Readers instinctively search for ways to make connections to the texts they are reading, as a result, it's one of the early strategies introduced to students. There are three ways that strong readers connect to texts: text-to-self (a connection to a personal experience); text-to-world (a connection to a "real-life" phenomenon or event; and text-to-text (a connection between two or more texts that a reader has explored). These activities will help you work with students on making connections to both fiction and nonfiction texts, and several can also be used to help students make connections to mathematical problems.

Common Core Standards

Content Areas

Learning Strands

Showing 6 of 26 results:

Previewing Text

Skilled readers almost never read a text “cold.” Instead, they examine the text, noting its genre, form, content, and other features. They identify when the text was written, and by whom, and they make judgments about the degree to which the information in the text should be accepted as factual. They may read a summary...

Reading as a Writer

Description: When students read as writers, they bring an awareness of the craft of writing to their analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of text. They explore the way in which a text is written, consider how the form of the text contributes to its meaning, and they may begin to experiment with ways in which they...


The most effective learners are skilled at metacognition: they are aware of their existing understanding of concepts and texts, they recognize when something challenges or supports their view, and they readily adapt their understanding as they acquire new information. An essential piece of such sophisticated learning is...

Word Study

Skilled readers know a lot about the words they read. They fluently process the words’ meanings, form, and syntactic properties, and they apply this knowledge to interpret words in real time as they read texts.  Struggling readers are often hampered by their limited or rigid knowledge of words, which can prevent them...