Literacy & Numeracy Support

Literacy

Yarra Hills Secondary College believes literacy skills – that is, reading and writing skills – are a crucial skill for life, and as such we have implemented special literacy programs to help ensure that all students are able to develop their skills in this area.

Writer’s Workshop

All Year 7 and 8 students take part in a Writer’s Workshop program, aimed at improving creativity and written skills, through explicit teaching of language conventions. The program is based on the Six Traits of Writing which is a systematic approach for looking at writing one part at a time. Since writing is such a complicated activity, this approach helps many people break down the task and understand it better.

  1. Ideas
  2. Organization
  3. Voice
  4. Word Choice
  5. Sentence Fluency
  6. Conventions

Year 7 students will:

  • Write from different perspectives
  • Create strong characters
  • Include dialogue
  • Seek feedback and redraft
  • Understand structure
  • Write for a specific audience
  • Show pride in their writing

Year 8 students will:

  • Explore problems
  • Have opinions
  • Redraft work
  • Share work
  • Use strong titles
  • Choose words carefully
  • Understand structure
  • Work collaboratively

Reading Skills

All Year 7 and 8 students will be taught reading skills which are embedded into the curriculum. As part of reinforcing skills and encouraging reading students willl also read for the first 10 minutes of every English lesson.
Year 7 and 8 students will be taught the following key reading skills:

  • Visualising
  • Questioning
  • Re-Read
  • Connection to Self
  • Using Background Knowledge
  • Monitoring Comprehension
  • Predicting
  • Vocabulary
  • Inference
  • Summarising

Learning Support

Yarra Hills Secondary College also offers Learning Support at Year’s 7 and 8. Learning Support is offered to students identified as needing additional assistance. It is studied as a replacement for L.O.T.E (Italian). This course strengthens and refines student literacy skills and compliments the English course to improve student confidence in speaking and listening, research, vocabulary, writing and reading in all key learning areas.

Write-a-thon

Yarra Hills Secondary holds a Write- a thon for years 7 through to 9. Students write creatively for 24 hours, working in shifts to meet this challenge, being woken up at all hours of the night to recommence their writing.

Despite lack of sleep, the night is a huge success. The students have a fantastic time, and produced some truly excellent creative writing pieces. This work is collated into a book and printed for both libraries.

The challenges of writing in the middle of the night can be best described through a poem, written by Gaia:

Sleepiness

Heavy, like a blanket of wool
It nags at your consciousness
And smothers all senses
Dulling movement, morphing lively, quick steps
Into heavy, cumbersome things
Dulling movement, morphing lively, quick steps
Into heavy, cumbersome things

College Wide Literacy

Yarra Hills Secondary College recognises that literacy is across all key learning areas and requires a college wide approach. Yarra Hills Secondary College is committed to the implementation of student literacy intervention programs.

We provide ongoing training to all staff and have implemented strategies to strengthen key partnerships with families and the broader school community, such as Ready to Learn and Reflect Nights and providing Individual Learning Plans.

Prior Knowledge

The college has a focus on prior knowledge as part of the Common Model of Explicit Instruction. We acknowledge that good readers constantly try to make sense out of what they read by seeing how it fits with what they already know. Teachers at Yarra Hills Secondary College are using explicit prior knowledge teaching strategies to help students make connections before, during, and after they read.

Strategies could include:

  • relating to student experience
  • asking questions
  • predicting
  • visualising

Vocabulary

Yarra Hills understands a reader’s vocabulary for a topic is the building block students use to build further knowledge in an area. Teaching vocabulary in context directly improves student ability to understand what they are reading. At Yarra Hills Secondary College each Key Learning Area has formulated vocabulary lists, or word banks for each topic studied. Students are explicitly taught key vocabulary before and during a topic.

Strategies could include:

  • study of key relevant words or phrases
  • students accurately say each concept
  • read and spell the word
  • suggest synonyms and antonyms
  • clarify meaning
  • read aloud

Numeracy

Since the very early days of recorded history, maths has played an important role in everyday life. From the ancient Egyptians to modern Australia, maths is used to tell the time, handle money, estimate distances, do simple sums in our heads and more.

This daily use of maths is called numeracy and is the ability to use maths knowledge and skills to carry out normal activities at home, at work and in the community.

At Yarra Hills we believe numeracy is a key ability needed by all of our students. Our curriculum recognises the importance of numeracy and we work hard at identifying what skills are required and we are developing our curriculum alongside those skills.

Our goal is to provide our students with the knowledge and skills they will need to become productive members of the community.

Further information: