Teachers provide authentic and purposeful learning experiences in developing literacy skills
At St Mary’s College, literacy is given significant importance, with dedicated time for listening, talking, reading, and writing in all classes. Teachers prioritise oral language development, particularly in the early years, and continue to enhance these skills as students progress. They employ various instructional methods, including whole-class teaching, modelling, shared tasks, and interactive activities to target specific reading or writing goals. Small group tasks are tailored to individual student needs, as determined by assessment data like running records or teaching points from Brightpath.
The interplay between reading and writing is emphasised to reduce cognitive load. Before writing, students are exposed to numerous examples, and as their text levels advance, they are taught how to increase sentence complexity accordingly. Vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension skills are explored through reading and writing tasks. Teachers are encouraged to integrate literacy skills into other subjects and integrate other learning areas into Literacy lessons.
Assessments such as running records, Burt Word, Pat Reading, Australian Spelling, and Marie Clay’s Observation Survey are conducted at the beginning of the school year or upon entry to inform differentiated instruction. The school utilises the PLD spelling program, which incorporates reading and writing development. Placement tests are administered at the start of the year and at the end of each term to gauge growth and identify student needs. Cold and hot writing tasks are also used, with moderation using the Brightpath ruler to track growth and provide teaching points for further instruction.