Reading more into literacy teaching

Innovation; News

​​​​​​​​Re-energised and motivated by attending Bastow’s Leading Literacy course, Principal Maryanne Moody and Assistant Principal Gaye Carrigan now have a clear path forward for taking literacy teaching and learning to the next level at their school.

As Principal and Assistant Principal at Haddon Primary School, Maryanne and Gaye decided that enrolling in Bastow’s Leading Literacy course would give them the best chance for introducing whole-school change in literacy instruction at their school.

Principal Maryanne Moody and Assistant  Principal Gaye Carrigan
Assistant Principal Gaye Carrigan and Principal Maryanne Moody

Attending the course together also meant they had the opportunity to discuss and plan their approach and present a united front to the other teachers.

‘And we were fortunate because we didn’t have to do any convincing up the line; we were the ones who were able to make decisions and drive change, in collaboration with our staff,’ says Gaye.

As they progressed through the 12-month course, the pair developed a school-based literacy project with an emphasis on building teacher capacity. A key part of this was sharing their Bastow learning in fortnightly professional development sessions for their nine classroom teachers, stepping them through the course content and professional reading, and encouraging reflective group discussions.

‘Our role as school leaders is to equip them to perform the magic that the students need, and the Leading Literacy program was a very valuable, structured and accessible means by which we were able to do that,’ says Maryanne.

Closely aligned with the instructional leadership priorities in the state government’s Education State FISO, the course provided Maryanne and Gaye with valuable knowledge around ‘core teaching and learning areas of literacy and numeracy.’

‘I knew straight away that this was something we were really going to get a lot out of,’ says Gaye.

Assistant Principal Gaye Carrigan with students
Assistant Principal Gaye Carrigan with student​s

As part of the new instructional model, literacy teaching is compartmentalised into separate 2-hour blocks of time for reading and writing workshops each day. And rather than incorporating spelling into these blocks, it is now taught as a separate half-hour session.

With this new approach, as well as a consistent, shared language around literacy, the school is already seeing positive results.

‘Within the 12-month period, especially in spelling, the relative growth from grade 3 to grade 5 was very high for the majority of our students,’ says Maryanne.

Find out more about how you can support exemplary literacy practice in your school at Leading Literacy

Celebrate the importance of numeracy and literacy teaching and learning during National Literacy and Numeracy Week, find out more at https://www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au/