Program by Deaf Litercy Initiative
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Lesson #2: Understanding the Nine Essential Skills

To develop an understanding of each of the Essential Skills

  • know the definition for each of the 9 Essential Skills
  • be able to explain what each of the 9 Essential Skill are
  • understand how you use Essential Skills in your everyday life
  • understand why is it important to keep learning

As we learned in Lesson 1, there are 9 Essential Skills. They are:

Reading and understanding words in the form of sentences and paragraphs.

Using written words to explain ideas (i.e. pen and paper, keyboard typing).

Document Use
Understanding visual images (pictures) such as maps, symbols, lists, and labels.

Numeracy (math)
Solving problems using numbers.

Using language to communicate thoughts, ideas and opinions to others.

Computer Use
Using technology to write, research, create and share information.

Thinking Skills
Using your own thoughts to understand a situation and make decisions.

Working with Others
Working with family, friends, students and co-workers to accomplish tasks together.

Continuous Learning
Learning new information, new skills to build and improve what you already know.

Not every job needs the same level of ability when it comes to Essential Skills. Think of a lawyer. A lawyer must be able to read and understand laws, court documents, letters, contracts, and reports. Now think of a janitor. Do janitors need to read and understand laws, court documents, letters, contracts and reports? No, they don’t. They need to be able to read product label and instructions, memos and schedules.

All jobs use the 9 Essential Skills, but not all jobs use Essential Skills in the same way.

There are many examples of different jobs in the DVD. Below are some pictures and job titles.

Working alone or in a group:

  1. Name the 3 most important Essential Skills needed for the job pictured.
  2. Explain why you think those 3 Essential Skills are the most important Essential Skills for the job.
  3. Give examples of how a person working in that job would use each Essential Skill.

You can print this worksheet to help you with your answers



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Computer Lab Technician


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ESI Agents


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Gas Station Manager


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Gas Station Attendant


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Lead ESI Agent


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Take Lesson 2 Quiz