New Education Initiative will Help Boys with Literacy
On January 18th 2018 the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) released a new initiative: the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions. What does this mean for our kids, especially our boys?
Basically, the original curriculum continuum is being replaced by learning progressions – a resource that describes the key steps of students’ literacy and numeracy development for K to Year 10.
“ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, said the learning progressions would support teachers in locating where individual students are in terms of their literacy and numeracy development, and would help them understand the typical sequence of learning for literacy and numeracy.”
What exactly should my child be achieving in English?
The basic literacy skills of accurate spelling, correct punctuation and grammar feature in every year level. Exposure to as many different texts as possible will also benefit your child, so read a variety of fiction and non-fiction. There are, however, differences between the year levels. Below is a brief summary for each.
Years 3 and 4
During this stage, there’s an emphasis on reading more difficult books, such as chapter books and non-fiction. Boys are often intimidated by the ‘size’ of chapter books and they avoid them. Try to find books that contain adventure, humour, heart and illustrations.
Tips: Take turns reading pages, discuss characters (are they brave? curious? funny?), comment on the events (“Why do you think the character did that?” “What might happen next?”) and praise at completion (“You used persistence to stick to the task of reading a few pages of the story each night until you finished the book, even when you were tired.”). Look at the features of different texts: Why does a book on volcanoes include diagrams? Why is it a good idea to include details about the main character/setting? This helps your child to see the purpose of different texts.
Year 5 and 6
More critical thinking is required at this stage as students need to compare and analyse different texts. Can your child write, and discuss the features of, a report, a review and a narrative? Continued exposure to a variety of books will expand your child’s vocabulary – which will greatly improve their own writing!
Year 7 and 8
English gets a smaller slice of the learning pie in these years as the curriculum is divided amongst specialist teachers and subjects. Strong literacy skills are important here. Can your child write in paragraphs? Can they use language suited to the text (eg descriptive words for narratives, the correct terms for a discussion, correct conventions for different text types)? Effective comprehension skills are invaluable to the subjects of maths, humanities and science. No doubt there will be a class novel to interpret as well.
Years 9 and 10
A solid grasp of literacy is essential during these years. Poetry and novels (boys often dread these!) will be explored. Students will have to give more in depth analyses of texts and justify their answers. They will have to identify poetic devices and provide examples. For a boy struggling with literacy, these tasks can be challenging and overwhelming.
Online assessments will be utilised by teachers to assess a student’s literacy and compare it against a learning progression. Computer assessments will indicate what a student still needs to learn.
Regardless of new curriculum initiatives, studies continue to show that parents underestimate the role they play in their child’s education. Connect with your child’s learning. Be sure to communicate with their literacy teacher in order to maximise your son/daughter’s achievement levels.
Check out our blogs for more ideas and tips.
Brought to you by Tanya Grambower