Literacy in Years 7-9

What are the three most important factors to consider about teaching literacy to Years 7 – 9?

Literacy needs to grow rapidly through the middle years as the material of the curriculum becomes more specialised and distinct; the differentiation of the curriculum is increasing at this crucial time.

The assumption that the need for literacy development ends once code-breaking and comprehension is achieved in the early years, couldn’t be further from the truth. As Peter Freebody says, literacy is not a fixed set of skills that once achieved, needs no further enhancement. On the contrary, academic development in curriculum areas in not separate from developing students knowledge about literacy conventions.

Individual teachers and parents can begin a process of pointing out to students the different ways in which different texts build knowledge, and how language and visual information work together in different ways in different curriculum areas and that it’s no longer a generic the education system is interested in.

How will you teach literacy to middle years students in your teaching area/s?

In Media Arts, digital media literacy is as important as reading, writing and numeracy in the 21st century.

But while most middle years children produce, communicate and consume media via smartphones, televisions, tablets or other computers, and an ever growing range of other devices, both at school and especially outside school time, we can’t assume they are “digital natives”.

Skills and understandings need to be taught, learned, and practised.

As Ben Goldsmith, Senior Research Fellow Queensland University of Technology, writes:

While students may be able to use language and hold a conversation, they need to learn how to form sentences. They need to be taught how to write. The same is true for their engagements with media.

So, it would be my job as a Media teacher to teach this literacy so students can participate creatively, safely and ethically.

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