By Jane Farrall
Literacy is a fundamental skill in our society. We use it for work, for leisure and increasingly we use it socially. All students have the right to good literacy instruction – and all students can develop their skills in this area once they are provided with explicit balanced instruction.
Willans Hill School, a special school in Wagga Wagga, NSW, began using a balanced approach to literacy intervention in 2008. The school has a strong philosophy of focusing on what students can do, rather than what they can’t.
In 2011 a project commenced to further refine and improve the literacy support for ALL students at the school. The school Management Team dedicated resources to make this a key area of school input, with regular visits and consultancy provided by Jane Farrall from Spectronics. Some remote support for the project was provided from Professor Karen Erickson at the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies in the USA.
The Four Blocks Approach to Literacy (Cunningham, P. M., Hall, D. P., & Cunningham, J.W., 2000) has been well established as an approach for students with disabilities through work at the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies (Erickson & Koppenhaver, 2006). This approach was used in all classrooms at Willans Hill throughout 2011. Formal assessments were completed on a sample of students at the beginning and end of the year to determine the efficacy of this instruction and literacy portfolios were kept on all students throughout the year to provide further information about student’s progress. Focus groups with parents, teachers and students were also arranged to gather further data on the impact of the instruction.
This presentation will discuss the process of implementing balanced literacy instruction throughout the whole school – providing information, data, video and examples collected along the way. Unforeseen changes to the school culture, for both teachers and students, which occurred will also be discussed – as well as the formal literacy assessment results and other information gathered.
Come along and see how ALL students can develop their reading and writing skills – and how one school made it happen.
Cunningham, P. M., Hall, D. P., & Cunningham, J. W. (2000). Guided reading the fourblocks
way. Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc
Erickson, K. & Koppenhaver, D. (2006). Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-Blocks Way. Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc
Delegates will leave this session with:
Knowledge of the Four Blocks in the Four Blocks approach to literacy
Information about how this has been used with all students at a special school
Information about the progress made by students at the school
Unforeseen other outcomes which occurred in the school
Experience needed to benefit from this session
No prior experience with the technologies to be discussed is required
Age group targeted by this session
All Ages but primarily school age.
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Website – spectronics.com.au
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Spectronics Consultancy Services
Would you like to learn more? Our clever Spectronics’ Consultancy Team are available on a fee-for-service basis to provide trainings and consultancy services onsite or online at your school or disability support service. Their many years of experience ensures they know how best to introduce and apply the technologies in real-world settings — ensuring successful outcomes for your students and/or clients.
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