Strategy: Keeping a Literacy Journal
Click on me to see the template
See more detail on this strategy in the Background Reading below.

Background Reading to Strategy 1Summary of Chapter 1(Book: "Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13")

1. Why is literacy important?
Main ideas:
  • All teachers are teachers of literacy because all students learn through language. Language is fundamental to thinking and learning.
  • The focus of literacy teaching should not be restricted to Year 9 and 10 students - it is just as relevant for Year 13 students.
  • Teachers should know about thier students' background experiences and home literacy practices.

2. The Aims of the "Effective Literacy Strategies: Years 9 - 13" programme
Main ideas:
  • This is a professional development programme to enable teachers to increase the literacy achievement of all their students.
  • The deliberate use of literacy strategies in mathematics.
  • Focus on teaching practice and analysis of student data.

3. The structure of the "Effective Literacy Strategies: Years 9 - 13" programme
Main ideas:
  • What the research tells us
  • What the challenges are
  • What can make a difference is the deliberate use of literacy strategies
  • Reflecting and planning

4. Processes for engaging with text
Main ideas:
"Learning from, with and through text" involves a "complex and essentially recursive" set of processes." (Wray and Lewis)
These processes are:
  • Drawing on prior knowledge
  • Establishing a purpose
  • Locating information
  • Adopting literacy strategies
  • Recording information
  • Interacting with text
  • Monitoring understanding
  • Evaluating information
  • Assisting memory
  • Communicating information
"All learning strategies need to be deliberately taught... the teacher will need to explain the purpose of each strategy and model it several times. The students will need multiple opportunities to practise..." (Ministry of Education, 2003a, p. 6)

5. An explanation of the framework
Chart - see pages 13-15 (not copied due to Copyright)

6. Strategies for engaging students with text: a framework
Main ideas:
  • Focus of using literacy strategies deliberately in your teaching.

7. How teachers can make a difference
Main idea:
Hattie (1999) analysed a considerable number of research studies and reached the concusion that effective teachers are those who:
  • set and communicate appropriate, specific, and challenging goals
  • structure learning situations so that their students can reach these goals
  • provide reinforcement and corrective feedback to their students
  • encourage their students to understand learning processes and to develop independent strategies for learning.

8. The dimensions of effective literacy
Main ideas:
The dimensions of effective literacy practice:
  • Knowledge of literacy learning
  • Knowledge of the learner and the pathway for success
  • Instructional strategies
  • Engaging learners with rich texts
  • Expectations
  • Partnerships

9. Using literacy strategies deliberately
Main idea:
  • Deliberate acts of teaching are the instructional strategies that teachers use to equip their students with knowledge, awareness, and learning strategies.

10. Developing a "professional learning community"
Main idea:
  • Teachers who are part of a professional learning community take part in quality conversations that include discussing specific qualitative and quantitative data to find out about their students' literacy-related strengths and needs.
    Teaching Literacy in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom - Teaching Literacy in Maths
    Teaching Literacy in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom - Teaching Literacy in Maths
  • Website:
    Online Professional Learning Community: To join up the forum for secondary literacy in New Zealand, subscribe on the following link and receive weekely updates from Denise Hitchcock Facilitator: Secondary Literacy community

11. Action research: a framework
Chart - see page 19 (not copied due to Copyright)

12. Action research: teachers as researchers
Main idea:
  • What do teachers know or need to know about their students' literacy knowledge, strategies, and attitudes?

13. Action research: a student focus group
Main idea:
  • The need for more knowledge about a small group of identified students (perhaps those who are most at-risk)

14. Developing independent learners
Main idea:
Four stages to developing independent learners:
  • dependence - students rely on the teacher to select and use appropriate strategies
  • collaboration - students collaborate with their teacher to selct and use strategies
  • support - teacher provides supports
  • independence - students independently select and use appropriate strategies to meet the purpose of the task.

15. Developing independent learners: a framework
Chart - page 22 (not copied due to Copyright)

16. Thinking with students about their learning
Main idea:
  • Students have to learn how to learn. They must deliberately plan for their learning.
  • Students use a learning log/journal for literacy e.g. they could rule a large margin in their exercise books to reflect, write questions for the teacher, jot notes etc or use a notebook.
  • A learning journal is a student's ongoing record of their learning.
"They can use them to:
  • identilfy what and how they are lerning
  • identify types of thinking they are using to learn
  • process information that they have gathered
  • develop learning strategies that are effective for them
  • monitor and evaluate their own learning.
  • become independent learners."
(p. 152 "Effective Literacy Strategies for Years 9 to 13")

Benefits of learning journals:
Students will:
  • become more personally engaged with what they are learning and how they are learning
  • become more aware of their own thinking
  • reflect on and describe what is happening
  • express their learning difficulties
  • focus on how they learn and become more responsible for their own learning progress
  • learn the skills of self-monitoring and self-evaluation
Teachers can:
  • gain more evidence of their students' learning (their prior knowledge and understanding, responses, difficulties and concerns)
  • be able to respond to individual students by writing in their journals
  • identify when their students have difficulty
  • plan more effectively as they become more aware of their students' needs
  • follow the learning progress of their students more closely

See the Youtube below: Developing a Vocabulary Journal for Quadratic equations

17. Reflecting and planning for teaching
Main ideas:
  • Reflecting
  • Planning
  • Trialling a strategy
  • Focussing on a group pf students
  • Developing a learning community

Teachers can also keep a literacy journal/log to reflect and plan under the above headings.
In this way, teachers can model what they are asking their students to do.