Early years learning: Applying literacy skills

In his latest Teacher video Greg Whitby speaks to Dale Yearsley about his approach to Year 2 Literacy at St Margaret Mary's Primary in Merrylands.

‘Prior, we were focusing on big books and books that were written specifically for one skill set,' he explains. Yearsley and colleagues are now using picture books that help students apply their literacy skills across all key learning areas.

‘So, the inferencing skills, the way they approach a text, and those skills not just in Literacy but how they apply across all those key learning areas, so it's not in isolation. It's had a really good impact in what we've seen.'

Given he's so passionate about books and reading, Yearsley says colleagues are picking up on the enthusiasm.

‘My passion is definitely literacy and children's literature – picture books – so I think I have quite a good knowledge in terms of the breadth that's out there. But just showing that and modelling it and showing the enthusiasm and then showing the depth and the rich nature of those texts,' he says.

Yearsley adds the approach has provided a great opportunity for staff to collaborate to extend students' learning.

‘We want students to collaborate and we want them to be in partnership to extend each other's thinking. So I think it needs to start with teachers, through our modelling and what we do and how we collaborate.'

And according to Yearsley, the program has proved quite successful for students, not only in their work, but also in their attitude to learning.

‘I think definitely in terms of attitudes – so the way students approach tasks, where they engage with it, and the way they then use what they've learned and applying it to their everyday lives,' he says. ‘I think that, as a teacher, is the most fulfilling thing to see happen.'


As a classroom teacher, how do you select texts that challenge and extend students in their learning?

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