The 3 Rs – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic

Published 9:17 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

The foundation of a basic skills-oriented education is reading, writing and arithmetic. As school starts back the emphasis on learning for kids is emphasized.  Reading is essential for a child’s success. Writing is critical to becoming a good reader.  Writing is an essential job skill that is lacking in so many applicants today. It is the primary basis upon which one’s work, learning and intellect will be judged — in college, in the work place and in the community. Writing equips us with communication and thinking skills.

Basic math skills are developed in elementary school. The basic arithmetic operations include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Questions kids ask are why all the subjects in school are important and useful for their future. There are many other subjects, like science, that are important — but none as much as the three Rs. These are critical to master in order to function successfully in life.

Good writing skills will help you get and retain a good job. Writing resumes, letters, notes, memos, reports, all require good writing skills in order to effectively communicate ideas. The flip side is that poor writing skills can be a red flag to employers that you are not fit for certain positions or management responsibilities. A person with poor writing skills will often be seen as one with lower intelligence. It is important to make a good first impression. Your resume and application may be all a prospective employer has to judge you by and it will put you in the pool to be considered by a potential employer for an interview or next step in the hiring process. Poor grammar and incoherent writing in a cover letter will lessen your chances for consideration.

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Reading can build up your knowledge and skills, increase your vocabulary and assist you in becoming well-spoken and articulate. This will help you in your profession, communicating with customers and colleagues with more self-confidence, and be a big boost to your self-esteem. Reading comprehension separates the passive reader from one who is an active reader, interacting with the text. A person who is well-read, well-spoken and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tends to move ahead more rapidly, get promotions more often and generally succeed in their profession.

Math skills are important fundamentally to all jobs and in your everyday life. Math skills are much more than just the basics you were taught in school. Numeracy and numerical problem solving are both needed and used in everyday job functions. It is a strong indicator of broad cognitive abilities. Cognitive aptitude is one of the most predictive factors of job success. Testing math skills of candidates applying for jobs is more than just measuring math skills, but also measuring critical thinking, problem solving and logic. Some people think that with the access of calculators and the advent of computers that can perform complicated math functions for us, that they can do all the work for us. Not so. It is even more crucial today to possess an understanding of how to analyze data, make decisions and solve problems. Aptitude tests are used by employers seeking critical thinkers and problem solvers to gain insight and measure math skills of candidates seeking a position.

Reading, writing and math are inextricably intertwined. They should be inseparable helping people to analyze, interpret, communicate, evaluate. Information received and communicated well, in an organized fashion can be mastered. All three skills are of utmost importance in everyday life and on the job. These skills are necessary to evaluate sources of information and the validity of the information. Numeracy and literacy complement each other. Well-rounded literate employees are fundamental to a company’s success. These skills are the backbone of employees’ performance and potential. They are also impactful on a person’s entire life. Without the ability to effectively communicate your ideas, they are worthless in this world. The importance of these skills cannot be overstated.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing