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EDUCATION REPORT - October 2, 2003: 'MegaSkills' for Children - 2003-10-01

This is Doug Johnson with the VOA Special English Education Report.

MegaSkills is a program used in schools across the United States. This program trains adults to help children develop the skills needed for what educators call lifelong learning. MegaSkills is based on the idea that parents and teachers can help children gain skills through normal, daily activities.

Dorothy Rich created the program. She heads a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC, called the Home and School Institute.

Mizz Rich identified eleven major skills that children need to succeed in life. She based them on information she gathered from educators and employers. She describes them as "inner engines of learning" for school and work.

These MegaSkills include feeling able to do what is needed, and wanting to do it. Being willing to work hard and doing what is right are other MegaSkills. So are completing what you start, showing concern for others, and using good judgment. Dorothy Rich says children also need to learn how to solve problems, and how to work with a goal in mind.

MegaSkills Education Online offers suggestions for activities to build these skills. For example, there are ideas about how parents can help children get organized in school. Parents can begin by helping a child plan a school project, like a science project.

A parent can suggest that the child think about all the supplies needed for the project. What special supplies might the child need? The child can write down each step required for the project, then number the steps to help follow them.

Other ideas offer ways to help younger children plan their time. MegaSkills Education Online suggests that parents and children list activities for a day when there is no school. For example, the family might plan to wake up at eight o'clock and eat breakfast by nine.

As the day progresses, children can write down the time they start each activity on the list. At the end of the day, the family can see how close they came to following their plan.

MegaSkills says this exercise is one way to reduce the time spent watching television. It can also increase the time children spend on schoolwork.

There are other free suggestions and activities at the MegaSkills Web site. The address is

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Jerilyn Watson. I'm Doug Johnson.