Programs & Facilities - Literacy

Ballarat Specialist School currently has two staff members employed as literacy co-ordiantors. Part of their responsibility is overseeing the literacy assessment schedule and providing support for our general classroom staff.

Junior Mini-school
We believe that all students can make gains in oral language and literacy with explicit instruction and guidance balanced with regular opportunities for the independent application of reading and writing, speaking and listening skills.
Each student is assessed in reading and writing at the beginning, middle and end of the school year, in order to identify each student’s strengths and needs in literacy learning. This information provides a pathway for each student's learning and for setting individual goals in literacy.
Literacy is timetabled daily when students are grouped within their classroom or are streamed with other students in the POD for focused teaching and engaged learning time. Teachers select the most appropriate teaching strategy to support each student’s learning. Classroom teaching strategies in reading and writing include: Reading To Children, Language Experience –Reading, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Language Experience-Writing, Shared Writing, Interactive Writing, Guided Writing. Students have opportunities on a daily basis for independent reading.
Reading Recovery, an early literacy intervention, is for students who after one year at school have not yet established effective reading and writing processes. The intervention provides an intensive, individually designed and individually delivered series of lessons for 30 minutes each day. The goal of Reading Recovery is to accelerate literacy learning in as short a time as possible.

Middle and Senior Mini-schools
It is through meaningful, purposeful literacy learning experiences that our students learn to analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others in order to engage with the world in which they live.
Literacy learning in the Middle and Senior Schools aims to build on literacy skills developed in the Junior school. It also aims to extend students’ capacity to read and write texts across a range of text types for specific and functional purposes and to extend their oral communication skills, enabling them to become effective communicators in the school, home and work place.
Literacy is integrated into all curriculum areas in the Middle and Senior Schools. Explicit teaching of skills and strategies pertaining to the students’ ability to communicate through Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening is addressed in the Literacy programs. In writing, students are taught to structure their written communications according to the purpose of the text; they focus upon the mechanical aspects of writing and engage with others to develop ideas and issues relating to written texts. In reading, students are taught specific strategies that will enable them to draw meaning from texts and they are encouraged to utilise strategies that will assist them to accurately read and respond to texts.
Specifically in the Senior school, students are streamed into Functional Groups where they work on skills that pertain to their ability to function effectively when they leave school. Within each Functional Group, goals that are appropriate to the needs and ability of the students are explicitly taught. Classroom teaching strategies are selected to engage the students and encourage them to become active and enthusiastic learners.
If appropriate each student is assessed in reading and writing at the beginning, middle and end of the school year, in order to identify each student’s strengths and needs in literacy learning. This information provides a pathway for each student's learning and for setting individual goals in literacy.