Strategy: Thinking more deeply about your literacy strategy

Strategies (8)

In order for your literacy strategy to be effective, you need to consider your answers to the following questions. These are all on the worksheets and are the same as what you’ll find in your assessment template.

Here’s a list of the questions below. Then we’ll work through each one. If you know what to do here, just skip ahead to the assessment template”

  • Can you provide a breakdown of the specific literacy skill areas?
  • What kinds of specific literacy competencies or practices do you expect to see?

Can you provide a breakdown of the specific literacy skill areas?

In your strategy, you should have picked one or two literacy progressions to focus on. These are the literacy skill areas that you want to develop. These should be based on what you identified when you did the mapping exercise as part of Assessment 3.

For example, you might say something like this:

  • One area I want to focus on is learning technical vocabulary and jargon relating to health and safety in the workshop. This includes things like the correct names for the equipment and relevant parts.
  • Another area I intend to include is how to use reading comprehension strategies. This covers how to read technical instructions, operating procedures, and plans. Many of my learners struggle with reading, including how to identify key information on a page.

What kinds of specific literacy competencies or practices do you expect to see?

As your learners gain stronger literacy skills you should see some of their behaviours change in positive ways. Sometimes we refer to these behaviours as “competencies” or “practices”.

  • A competency is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

An example would be if a learner can use a reading comprehension strategy like scanning to successfully locate key pieces of information on a page from a workbook so that they can find the answers to questions in a workbook.

  • Practices are the actual application of a literacy or numeracy skill.

If you see learners doing things it doesn’t always mean that learners can do things successfully or effectively. But we should be looking for positive changes in their behaviour.

If we take the same example above, just because you see a learner using a scanning technique doesn’t mean that the will get the correct answers to the comprehension questions that you set them. However, practising scanning is going to help them develop the skill.

Here’s something important to think about:

  • Sometimes it takes a long time to see gains in competencies. But, you can see changes in practices almost immediately if you’re looking.

Here’s an example of what you might write:

  • What I hope to see is some gains in the students reading comprehension over time. We measure this using the TEC assessment tool at the beginning and end of the programme. However, sometimes the timeframe is too short. What I’m hoping will happen is that I’ll see students using one or two good reading comprehension strategies.
  • Also, I’d like to see more deliberate vocabulary learning. There’s a lot of specialised language in my programme and much of it will be new to most of these students. I’m probably going to try encouraging them to use some different strategies for learning new words like keeping a vocabulary journal and making giant word-bank posters to put up on the walls.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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