Teaching literacy, and key components of learning to read and write are integral to helping students reach greater achievement. We are not born with the skill of being able to read or write, so we must teach using explicit and direct instruction to develop these skills in the brain.
As INSIGHT begins to influence our schools, Literate Learners for Life continues to play an important role in creating better outcomes for Tasmania’s young people, the Science of Learning and Reading will help build stronger learning foundations for Catholic Education Tasmania students.
“We’ve come from a place in Literate Learners for Life following the Science of Reading – INSIGHT is embracing that and going deeper into the Science of Learning,” said Lisa Fenning, the Literacy Project Lead Advisor at Catholic Education Tasmania.
It is important that students are placed in an environment that gives them the best possible opportunity to succeed. Explicit teaching removes distractions for students and allows them to focus on the most important information. It uses a highly structured environment that is focused on producing specific learning outcomes, and breaks down topics and content individually.
Literate Learners for Life follows this structure and uses a Science of Reading approach to teaching in classrooms. The initiative ensures that the content within literacy teaching and learning is knowledge-rich. This creates better understanding for students and ensures that what they are learning is full of relevant and essential information.
Speaking personally from her own experiences as an educator in Catholic schools throughout Tasmania, Lisa discussed how teaching explicitly can impact students and also how it impacted her. She believed at the time that her own grammar improved through exposure to text, rather than being taught literacy and grammar skills explicitly. This was the same throughout her teaching degree, where there was very little taught about grammar. Educators relied heavily on learning on the job and talking to other practitioners.
“The Science of Reading and Science of Learning has impacted teachers of my era and beyond because we did not have this knowledge ourselves, so understanding how the brain learns and what is best practice is key,” Lisa said.
“When teachers know better, we do better because all we care about is our student’s well being and our students learning.”