The Literacy Issue

The literacy issue with broader perspectives.

According to the OECD “Programme for International Student Assessment”, the PISA 2009 definition of reading adds engagement in reading as an integral part of reading literacy:

Reading literacy is understanding, using, reflecting on and engaging with written texts, in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society.

How literacy can be improved

These are the tools and activities we use to develop reading, writing and comprehension skills.

A biography retells significant events in a persons’ life, usually in the order in which they occurred. It includes the motives of participants and judgments or evaluation of the person’s life and contribution to society. It includes a title, dates and personal achievements.

Chronological list
A chronological list is a vertical summary of a series of events in order of their occurrence. This list allows the reader to refer quickly to major events. A chronological list includes a title, the date of each event and a description of the event.

Factual account
A factual recount describes or reconstructs past experiences. It is typically based on the author’s direct experiences, and may include personal feelings or interpretations. Language features of recount texts may include reference to specific participants, written in the past tense, and connective language to link events and times.

Factual text
A factual text presents information or ideas to inform, instruct or persuade the reader. Factual texts use text (printed and visual) and text organisers to present information. These include titles, labels, highlighted keywords, diagrams, maps and photographs.

A report presents information about a topic or issue which has been collected through experience, investigation or research. It might aim to inform, influence or convince an audience. A report is usually structured using an introduction, a main body of information organised in a predictable pattern, and a conclusion which summarises the main messages to be communicated. It might include the use of visual aids such as charts, tables, graphs and image.

Science journal
A science journal is a record of observations, experiences and reflections. It contains a series of dated, chronological entries. It may include written text, drawings, labelled diagrams, photographs, tables and graphs.

Story board
A storyboard is used to identify key events and represent them in sequential order. It includes a title, drawings showing important details, descriptive captions and numbers to indicate the sequence of steps.

A table is used to organise information so that it can be accessed more easily. It consists of a title, columns with headings and information organised under the appropriate heading

Word wall
A word wall is an organised collection of words and images. It supports the development of vocabulary related to a particular topic and provides a reference for students.

Australian literacy* for ages 15–64 years was 43.2% of males and 43.9% of females do not have the literacy skills to read a range of everyday reading tasks, which are essential to fully participating in our modern society.

*(the most recent figures) (Report No. 4228.0). 2013

Literacy descriptors achievements: a typical outline for a book title

Descriptors Biography Chrono-logical list Factual account Factual text Report Science journal Story board Interview Table Word wall Text type Text category
Activity                       Informative
1.1       X X         X Explanation Informative
1.2       X           X Information table Informative
2.1         X         X Factual description Informative
2.2     X X           X Explanation Informative
3.1       X         X X Explanation Informative
3.2         X         X Explanation Informative
4.1       X           X Explanation Informative
4.2     X             X Factual description Informative
5.1             X     X Literary recount Imaginative
5.2   X             X X Literary recount Imaginative
6.1         X         X Literary recount Imaginative
6.2     X             X Factual recount Informative
7.1           X       X Factual recount Informative
8.1 X                 X Procedure text Informative
8.2   X X         X   X Factual Recount/ Explanation Informative
8.3     X     X   X   X Review/ Response Informative/ Persuasive
8.4             X     X Information report/ explanation Informative
9.1         X         X Explanation Informative
10.1         X         X Information table Informative
10.2                 X X Explanation Informative

You may also wish to look at the reading writing hotline site as it provides useful services for adults seeking English language, literacy and numeracy referral information along with advice and support.