Building a Whole Learning Community Approach to Literacy

Last week saw James Pinnuck from Ticking Minds facilitate a workshop with all the staff within the Nathalia Learning Community (comprising Nathalia Primary School, Nathalia Secondary College, St Francis Primary School, and St Marys of the Angels Secondary College) as a key professional learning program for all staff of the four schools within the Learning Community.

This professional development activity is the latest in a range of strategies developed by the Learning Community to enhance and improve the literacy outcomes of students with a special focus on reading.

Under the overall objective of ensuring the High Reliability Literacy Teaching Practices (HRLTP) is incorporated in to all staffs teaching and learning approaches, across all curriculum areas, this professional development activity provided a valuable get together to learn about what it means to help our students reach their capacity as effective readers.

As one participant reflected:

“We were reminded of the many ways to encourage understanding of text through the use of questioning, contextual prompts, ICT programs such as Rewordify.com and so much more.”

The Nathalia Learning Community has developed a range of initiatives that have not only involved all schools staff, but also broadened out to engage with early years services, families and local businesses in an acknowledgement that if we can have our children and young people supported to read across all these areas, their learning will become more engaging and rewarding.

“The aim is to spread the word across schools and into the community that reading is essential to learning and life. Book boxes are being shared in key areas of the town to ensure that everyone (from birth onwards) has access to reading materials. The local library and business houses have also continued to be involved in this launch.”

In addition to the building capacity of all staff across the Learning Community utilizing the HRLTP approach as a framework, the Learning Community has developed a range of other initiatives to further strengthen literacy skills and capacity of their children and young people:

  • Learning walks involving staff from all schools visiting each other classrooms
  • A partnership with the local library in providing “Book Boxes” being made available to local businesses and community centres
  • Local businesses being involved in community reading days with students
  • Ongoing professional development of all staff
  • The development of a peer to peer growth development and review approach across all schools.

The focus on literacy development through the HRLTP program forms one of the key areas of strategic intent for the Learning Community this year with the other two areas being:

  • The enhancement of youth aspirations through a whole of community approach, and
  • The engagement of the whole community in the development of literacy and reading participation through Book Boxes, early years programs, and engagement of the local businesses and community.

Our thanks goes out to James for the provision of a great PD, but even more than that. The township of Nathalia and surrounds continues to benefit in many and varied ways because the Nathalia Learning Community has a commitment to making education great FOR ALL .