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Literacy And English Education In The Primary Years

Introduction to Literacy Planning Resource

The selected probe for this assignment is Year 3 student Kevin. In the data presented, it is found that Kevin is of the age between 9.5-10.5 years. This assignment ensues the task of assessing the reading and writing ability of Kevin and how to identify and bridge the learning gaps exhibited during the assessment of the probe. Therefore, the first point includes interpretation of the data from the Probe, which is the most imperative part of the assignment. Furthermore, it shall also focus discussion on various methods by which the goals will be fulfilled as well as discussion on the performance indicators which confirm the success of the teaching goal settings as well as teaching interventions.

1. Identifying Kevin’s abilities & challenges in reading and writing

Abilities of the student in reading: In the oral reading analysis it was observed that high rate of speed was high; he was hesitant and omitted many words. Overall, the child exhibited a medium fluency level of speaking. In the comprehensive reading analysis, it was observed that the child was able to make sense of difficult words such as “triumphantly”. He was able to make certain inferences, for instance he was able answer questions such as, “why Kevin had never been to an island before?”, “Was the branch very heavy & how do you know that?”

Abilities in Writing: The child was able to present his thought in an integrated manner. It was very well constructed writing. There was a completeness of idea represented in each and every line. The child was able to use difficult words, such as “pleasure”, “trotting”, etc, which means he has a good vocabulary. He was able to use correct tenses, such as in the sentence, “Then I led him back”.

Challenges in reading: There are many challenges in his reading. Firstly, he was unable to pronounce the big words correctly. Such as words like “overgrown”. There was no re-organization in his reading, which means, if a sentence does not make complete sentence, the child does not pause to re-read or go back to the sentence to understand it. Child did not have the ability to evaluate the scenario presented. He could not answer the question, “How Kevin was feeling as he turned to go back home?” The overall reading score of the student is 06/10.

Challenges in writing: From the probe sample it can be observed that the child does not have the understanding of where and how to end a sentence. There are many missed full stops in the paragraph. Another writing challenge observed in this case is the difficulty in writing correct spellings of small as well as long words such as “frightened”, “worried”, “ pleasure” and “piece”. At many places in the writing it was noted that there was use of all capital words in between the lines. Such as, “I HAD been very worried”; “I was WALKING down.” The score for writing was 96/100.

2. Develop literature literacy goals. The writing analysis tool offers insight to identify the areas of weakness in the child’s writing by scoring on the basis of spellings, punctuation, structure and use of vocabulary in the sentence (Daffern & Mackenzie2019). As per the analysis, the above challenges can be addressed by planning and effective goal setting. In this case, the goal setting would encompass the following areas:

a. In reading: Improvement is required in drawing inferences from the text.

Meaning of words and their pronunciation must be emphasized. It is important that the student corrects himself and goes back to the text when or asks questions when the sentences doesn’t make any sense. 

b. Goals for improvement in writing: Stress should be laid on correcting spelling mistakes and punctuation. Focus should also be given to the clarity of ideas while using capitals or non-capital letters in the sentence.

3. Teaching approaches to fulfil those goals. The goals can be fulfilled by “The cycle consists of four interrelated stages:

  • Building the context or the field—It focuses on building the shared understanding of the topic (Martin, & Mahat, 2017). For instance, making connections, such as helping the student to describe and prompting to ask the following questions, “Who are the characters in the narrative? How are they portrayed through the words? How are they portrayed through the images? What are the relationships or connections between the characters? When and where does the narrative take place? Does the setting change at different points in the narrative? What is the problem or complication in the narrative? Is there more than one problem or complication? How is the problem resolved?”
  • Model teaching method: It is also called deconstruction. It is used to exclusively focus on the structure and the language of the text, by using the correct choices of words to reflect its true meaning in the text, and in order to build a metalanguage. For instance, establishing the understanding of the following concepts “dialogue between characters—how do they speak to each other? Do they use terms of endearment? How do the characters speak about other characters? What does this tell you about them?”
  • It also focuses on the choosing of correct verbs such as—"doing, thinking, saying, and relating, highlighting any patterns of these, for example, there could be many doing verbs, or action”—reaction sequences where doing verbs and thinking verbs appear at dissimilar points to demonstrate the action and the role of the character. Similarly, use of intensifiers to reinforce an idea related to the character or action; use of complementing cards, images which accompany the frame of the text—"close, mid or long distance gaze in the image—whether the character is looking directly at you or not prepositional phrases used establish the setting in the orientation noun groups with a pre- and/or post-modifier which build up descriptions of characters evaluative vocabulary choices which convey a judgement about a character’s behaviour or an appreciation of their appearance the use of intensifiers to establish a more forceful idea about a character or action (Paatsch, Hutchison, & Cloonan, 2019)”
  • Joint construction or also known as guidance practice- it is a method wherein the teachers as well as the students construct the text together. This is the most effective step of developing thinking mindset of the child. It also helps the child to think in the lines of the educator and to expand the scope of his thoughts. This might be a done for writing a paragraph or paragraphs, a stage of the narrative or a complete narrative, reliant on on the age of the students and the focus. Students undertake greater share of the responsibility in the process as the educator helps the students to focus on the developing the text. (Martin & Mahat, 2017)
  • Independent construction— It is defined as a process when “students’ independent writing or approximation of the genre. During the independent construction stage, the teacher’s role is to guide the students in their composition, supporting them to design and compose their texts creatively and independently. Writing conferences with individual or a small group of students provide a means for additional support to be given.” (Derewianka & Jones, 2016; Humphrey, 2017; Humphrey & Feez, 2016)

4. Measure the learning outcomes: The learning outcomes can be assessed by the writing analytical tool. It enables the teachers to monitor the progress of the children. Furthermore, there are various other methods to evaluate the performance indicators of the child. The Early Literacy assessment tool encompasses the following aspects: “alphabet letters, comprehending text, concepts of print, phonemes, listening and recall, oral language, phonological awareness, reading, writing.

The assessment tool designed for reading constitute the following:

  • 5 texts of a range of difficulty within the Victorian Curriculum Level
  • A range of variety of texts such as, “imaginative, informative and argumentative”.
  • Variety of reading skills such as, “retrieving information, linking information; global understanding, making inferences and reflecting on the text.”
  • Forming a variety of difficult questions, which are included in the Victorian Curriculum Level
  • A set of questions addressing the text.
  • Questions which addresses important aspects of the “Victorian Curriculum Standard for the Level.” (Victorian Assessment and Curriculum Authority, n.d)

There are ways to assess or evaluate the students oral or speaking abilities as well. These tools focus on understanding the comprehensibility of the words being spoken, and cover other aspects such as, “oral language retell, comprehension retell and oral language conversation. There are five speaking and listening tools to select from. The tools are administered as digital texts where the student is a virtual participant, either as the audience or as an observer of a discussion. Each assessment can be completed by an individual, small group or a class, and takes between 10 - 60 minutes to administer. Each tool is matched to three levels: Victorian Curriculum Level 2, Victorian Curriculum Level 3, and Victorian Curriculum Level 4 with some overlap across the levels.” (Victoria State Government, n.d)

It is the role and responsibility of the teacher to gain clarity on the learning needs of the students and achieving the objectives as well as to align them with the curriculum of the subject being taught. Educators must be careful in providing the students necessary support but also help them to be independent in their tasks in order to master the subject and gain confidence. (Lenette, Baker, & Hirsch, 2019)

Conclusion on Literacy Planning Resource

Australia is country which experiences high linguistic diversity. Around 300 languages are spoken in Australia. Presently, around 19 per cent of the population in Australia speaks English as main language at home (Gilmour, Klieve & Li, 2018). Therefore, it is important for an educator to understand the deeply the background of each child and to identify the gaps in the English language learning abilities and explore ways to bridge those gaps. The teaching must focus on the step by step process of development in reading as well as writing. These steps can be described as, thought process, content or the idea of the child behind the text, structure of the text, (which are called the authorial aspect of writing) as well as the editorial aspect of the text such as spelling, punctuation and handwriting, etc. From this assessment task, it can be concluded that not one, but a variety of teaching techniques must be deployed for meeting the learning needs of the children.

References for Literacy Planning Resource

Daffern, T., & Mackenzie, N. M. (2019). A case study on the challenges of learning and teaching English spelling: Insights from eight Australian students and their teachers. Literacy.

Gilmour, L., Klieve, H., & Li, M. (2018). Culturally and Linguistically Diverse School Environments--Exploring the Unknown. Australian Journal of Teacher Education43(2), 172-189.

Lenette, C., Baker, S., & Hirsch, A. (2019). Systemic Policy Barriers to Meaningful Participation of Students from Refugee and Asylum Seeking Backgrounds in Australian Higher Education: Neoliberal Settlement and Language Policies and (Deliberate?) Challenges for Meaningful Participation. In Educational Policies and Practices of English-Speaking Refugee Resettlement Countries (pp. 88-109). Brill Sense.

Martin, L., & Mahat, M. (2017). The assessment of learning outcomes in Australia: finding the holy grail. AERA Open3(1), 2332858416688904.

Paatsch, L., Hutchison, K., & Cloonan, A. (2019). Literature in the Australian English curriculum: Victorian primary school teachers' practices, challenges and preparedness to teach. Australian Journal of Teacher Education (Online)44(3), 61.

Victoria State Government (n.d). Diagnostic Assessment Tools in English. Retrieved from https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/discipline/english/Pages/date.aspx

Victorian Assessment and Curriculum Authority (n.d). Insight Assessment Platform. Retrieved from https://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/assessment/f-10assessment/insight/Pages/index.aspx?Redirect=1

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