Supporting the literacy development o diverse learners:From theory to practice
Literacy skills enable students to read, write and think with independence, comprehension and fuency andthese skills are essential or students’ success in school and in lie. English teachers rom Christ College andPAOC Ka Chi Secondary School are aware o the need to support the literacy development o their studentsstarting rom their junior years o school; however, they encounter diiculties in teaching literacy skills tostudents with diverse learning needs. Although students in the junior orms are streamed into dierent abilitygroups, teachers ind that students’ English language abilities vary considerably among classes. Apart romthis, students are very diverse in terms o interests, motivations, cognitive abilities, learning styles and readinesslevels. As teachers are aced with learner diversity between classes and within classes, they hope to improvelearning eectiveness o individual students by employing strategies that cater or their diverse needs.
Strategies used and implementation details
When it comes to addressing learner dierences, there is no one-size-ts-all approach and strategy. A widerange o eective strategies supported by valid research evidence indicating that intervention works has beentried out in the two schools over the past two years to maximise student learning. The ollowing table outlinessome o the strategies adopted by teachers and the reasons why they should be put in place, supplementedwith examples o classroom practices showing how these strategies are implemented in the classroom.
Strategy used and rationaleExample o classroom practice and implementation detail
in the pre-reading stage topromote active engagement
Struggling or immature readersare usually passive readers whostart reading without preparationand read without knowing whyand how to approach a text, whileeective readers set a purposeor reading and activate theirschema beore reading. Beingan active reader is importantbecause prior knowledge can helpreaders become ready to assimilatenew inormation, which in turnsimprove the chance o a successullearning experience and retention(Wendling & Mather, 2009). It is
1. Teaching students how to preview a text
- Beore reading a text, teachers trained students to ollow somesteps to read around the text to get a sense o what it would beabout. First, look at the pictures and captions to see what theypresent. Then, see i there are maps, charts or graphs. Next, lookat the titles, headings, and sub-headings to get the big ideas.Ater that, read the rst and last line o each paragraph or moreinormation.
2. Using KWL to activate prior knowledge and engage students
- In the Unit “Festivals”, beore students read the textbook passage,they were asked to write what they already knew about the twoestivals in the irst column (activating prior knowledge).- Students were then asked to write down what they wanted to learnmore about the estivals in the second column (having a purposeor reading and active engagement).- Ater reading the text, students wrote what they had learned andshared their ideas with the whole class (active engagement).