In today’s society, to be literate means to have a command of a range of increasingly diverse and complex texts and technologies.
It requires one to be multi-literate. To live in the 21st Century it is vital that students are equipped with all the necessary tools to be successful. It is essential to operate effectively in our changing world and students therefore need to be able to read and write. English is recognized as one of the key foundations of learning.
The Victorian Essential Learning Standards, (VELS) outlines the Domain of English consisting of three dimensions – reading, writing and speaking and listening. Luke and Freebody (2000) define literacy as “…the flexible and sustainable mastery of a repertoire of practices with the texts of traditional and new communications technologies via spoken language, print and multimedia.”
Reading, writing, speaking and listening are important life and communication skills. As students solve problems, share insights and build their knowledge they draw simultaneously on their capacities to read, write, speak and listen. Oral language is considered the precursor to reading and writing and is the necessary stage for children to learn and practise the formal conventions and features of the spoken language and how it links and supports reading and writing.
Through participation and engagement in purposeful and creative lessons students have the opportunity to develop their skills and understanding in English. The lessons consist of a two hour literacy block where reading and writing and the conventions of spelling, punctuation and grammar are considered an integral part of the lesson.
The essence of each lesson involves a whole class activity, such as sharing a story with a specific focus, breaking in to smaller groups where there are a variety of tasks for students to participate in followed by a final sharing of information and learning. This format generally operates throughout the school.