Warners Bay Public School uses the NSW Literacy continuum, which describes the literacy skills and understandings critical to literacy success. The continuum maps how each of these aspects of literacy develops through the years of schooling by describing key markers of expected student literacy progress. The continuum supports literacy teaching and learning by:
- developing/strengthening teacher knowledge of the development of critical aspects of literacy
- developing in teachers a more systematic understanding of student literacy development
- building a student profile of literacy learning across the critical aspects
- providing a better understanding of where to next focus teaching.
In our classrooms the NSW Literacy continuum supports assessment for learning and assessment of learning.
Teachers refer to markers within the continuum aspects to gather student assessment information. This information will determine starting points for teaching and also allow teachers to plan for ‘where to next’. As well as identifying the needs of individual students, continuum markers can inform appropriate grouping of students for effective teaching. Throughout the year, teachers can refer to continuum markers to monitor student progress. Teachers can provide feedback to students about their literacy progress and inform them of the skills and strategies they need to develop in order to move to the next level of learning across the critical aspects of literacy.
Using the interactive NSW Literacy continuum
The interactive NSW Literacy continuum has been designed to be viewed online. By scrolling over each of the clusters of markers, the markers will enlarge for ease of reading. Clicking on the tab arrows on the edges of a cluster of markers will move the view to the adjacent cluster. In this way, the critical aspects of literacy connect ‘down’ and also ‘across’. Reading ‘across’ identifies what learning that has come before as well as what teaching needs to occur next. Reading ‘down’ helps to identify the connections between the critical aspects of literacy learning to maximise student learning. Reading ‘across’ and ‘down’ is helpful in creating a profile of a student or group of students, to plan teaching and to monitor learning.
Attached to each cluster of markers are suggested ideas for teaching (Teaching Ideas in PDF form). The Teaching Ideas attached to the Interactive NSW Literacy continuum are designed to assist teacher planning. These ideas are not a definitive list of what teachers will be required to teach and students will be required to learn in order to move students along the continuum. Depending upon a teaching and learning cycle and the needs of the students, these ideas can be used as:
- suggestions for building modelled teaching lessons (for introducing new learning)
- additional ideas for guided teaching (to further develop this new learning)
- independent teaching and learning suggestions (where students have the opportunity to practise this learning)
- springboards for applying new learning in a different context
- part of an approach to monitor to what extent students have achieved the skills and knowledge described in markers.