18 Oct. 2021
What is Literacy?
Literacy is about more than reading and writing – it is about how we communicate in society. It is about social practices and relationships, about knowledge, language and culture. Literacy … finds its place in our lives alongside other ways of communicating. Indeed, literacy itself takes many forms: on paper, on the computer screen, on TV, on posters and signs. Those who use literacy take it for granted – but those who cannot use it are excluded from much communication in today’s world. Indeed, it is the excluded who can best appreciate the notion of “literacy as freedom”.
The Keewatin-Patricia District School Board recognizes that literacy education is a cornerstone of the work we do with students. Literacy is embedded across all subject areas in secondary schools. Programs are based on research-proven strategies supported by the work of the Student Achievement Division of the Ontario Ministry of Education. Key aspects of literacy programs include oral language; modelled, shared, guided and independent experiences in reading and writing; and media and critical literacy. Teaching and learning strategies cater to the diversity of our students’ cultures, experiences and needs.
What are the literacy beliefs of the Keewatin-Patricia DSB?
Literacy programs at the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board are founded on the following beliefs:
1. Effective Literacy skills transform students’ lives.
2. The goal of all literacy instruction is to enable students to make meaning from and in the range of texts they will encounter and produce at school and in the world.
3. All students can achieve high standards, given sufficient time and support. (Fullan, Hill & Crevola, 2006)
4. All students can develop as literate learners when they receive scaffolded support that prepares them for higher learning and growing independence.
5. In a society where students constantly receive messages from a variety of media, critical literacy and higher order thinking skills are essential. Students should be challenged to look beyond the literal message, to read between the lines, to observe what is present and what is missing, and to reflect on the context and the way these all influence the reader
6. Early intervention for students experiencing literacy difficulties is a priority.
7. Students are motivated to learn when they encounter interesting and meaningful texts on topics that matter to them and in which they can often see themselves represented.
8. Teachers follow a cycle of ongoing assessment of the literacy skills of their students and provide timely feedback in order to promote new learning for each student.
9. Teachers continually develop their professional knowledge and skills, drawing on lessons from research to improve their classroom practice. Literacy coaches are available to all teachers to support this professional learning.
10. Successful literacy learning for students is a team effort, requiring the support of the whole learning community – including teachers at all grade levels, school administrators, support staff, the board, parents, and community members.
What do literacy programs look like in Keewatin-Patricia DSB elementary schools?
In the Primary Years (K-3), literacy programs build on the fundamental skills of Oral Language. Students develop an understanding of what they think, they can say; what they say they can write; and what they write they can read. As students progress through these early years of schooling, they learn to read and respond to a variety of texts forms (including multimedia texts) and for a variety of purposes including to get information, to share their ideas and thinking and for pleasure. They create spoken, written and multimedia texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.
As students move into other years in elementary schooling, they continue to build on these foundational skills. They read, respond to and write more complex texts using traditional pen and paper forms as well as technology based texts. Students continue to make connections between literacy and other areas of the curriculum to learn how language is used for a variety of purposes and audiences.
For specific information about your child’s literacy program and/or progress, please contact their teacher or the principal of their school.
How does the Keewatin-Patricia DSB define Literacy?
Literacy is …… the ability to use language and images in rich and varied forms to read, write, listen, speak, view, represent, and think critically about ideas. It enables us to share information, to interact with others, and to make meaning. Literacy is a complex process that involves building on prior knowledge, culture, and experiences in order to develop new knowledge and deeper understanding. It connects individuals and communities, and is an essential tool for personal growth and active participation in a democratic society.
Ontario Ministry of Education, (2004), Literacy for Learning
How has the definition of “text” changed for the 21st Century?
As Literacy in the twenty-first century is constantly evolving, we must expand our understanding of “text”. While it remains essential that students learn to read and write in traditional ways, literacy learning can no longer be just print-based using fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, letters and newspapers. To be literate in our modern world students need to understand that "text" may include images, posters, video, sound, wikis, blogs, web pages, text messages and many other media.