The purpose of literacy is to share meaning between an author and a reader – to understand what others have written, and to share your own ideas with others. Literacy depends upon a wide range of language and cognitive skills. Most children begin to learn to read and write following many years of experience understanding and speaking spoken English. While spoken language usually develops spontaneously given sufficient exposure to speech, literacy normally depends upon explicit instruction.
Children who struggle to read and write will find it difficult to access all areas of the curriculum. Adults with low literacy not only have limited employment opportunities but also worse health outcomes. It is crucial that we support learners to attain good literacy skills.
Literacy is one of the areas of education in which there is a good deal of high-quality research. For example, evidence over the last twenty years has clearly demonstrated that providing systematic, explicit teaching in phonics (which can include either analytic or synthetic phonics) is more effective than whole language or embedded phonics approaches.There is also extensive evidence that learners show better reading comprehension when they have relevant background knowledge about a topic. However, some care is needed when making research-informed decisions on how to teach. While there is ample research on what to teach, there is relatively little research on how to teach.
It is important to pay attention to non-cognitive factors such as motivation and reading self-concept in literacy teaching. Literacy is an area of learning in which motivation is particularly important, because evidence shows that learners who read for pleasure outside of school can substantially improve their vocabulary and reading skills. The role of background knowledge, both in terms of a broad base of general knowledge as well as more specific domain knowledge, is also critical in literacy teaching.
Trudi Browne and Nic Rickard from Burnside School present this webinar, and discuss how a collaborative, whole school approach to oral language professional learning led to significant changes in akonga oral communication confidence and competence.
A written report discussing the work being done at Burnside Primary School with a focus to develop students’ confidence and competence to communicate through a school-wide initiative to improve the teaching of oral language.
The Education Hub's mission is to bridge the gap between research and practice in education. We want to empower educators to find, use and share research to improve their teaching practice, and then share their innovations. We are building the online and offline infrastructure to support this to improve opportunities and outcomes for students.
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