The range of English literature, English literacy research, and reading resources that is available to teachers in Australian schools is rich and extensive. Any work we want to prepare for our students, whether in a time of online learning, or for working on in the classroom, is improved when it is based on reliable sources.
Reading Resources, just in time
We are always on the lookout for quality reading materials, and I have covered several excellent sources in prior blogs.
One resource that is worth serious investigation is Reading Australia.
The website is comprehensive, including the organisation’s origins and purpose:
Reading Australia was created by the not-for-profit Copyright Agency with the goal of making it easier for teachers, through their passion and skills, to spread a love for Australian texts.
The commitment to quality Australian texts helps teachers to access, and students to experience, the stories that are relevant to us, and reflective of our rich literary world.
The site includes
- Interactive booklist of 270 titles, organised into Year groupings, Foundation to Year 12 covering all genres and periods of Australia’s literary history. There is a brochure available here, which helps planning across grades and stages.
- 230 + resources mapped to the Australian Curriculum, which include classroom activities, discussion questions, printable worksheets, and example assessment tasks. This one, written for ‘A Walk in the Bush’ by Gwyn Perkins is a good example of the types of activities and extension that can be developed from the story, including interviews, supporting websites etc.
- The Teachers’ Corner has a variety of articles, book lists, competitions, downloadable colouring pages, video content, activities and the latest book news.
There are firm guidelines for inclusion in the Reading Australia booklist, and the selectors include literature and literacy experts, teachers, writing industry stakeholders, First Nations writers’ representatives and diverse sector representatives.
All titles are written by Australian writers, and resources are prepared by Australian teachers for classroom use, and are culturally appropriate. .
Teacher professional organisations PETAA and ALEA are represented on the selection panels.
Primary Learning congratulates literacy researchers Dr Noella Mackenzie and Dr Tessa Daffern, who have just been awarded the United Kingdom Literacy Association’s UKLA/ Wiley Research in Literacy Education Award 2021 for their most recent investigations into the learning and teaching of spelling. The research was published in 2020, in the association’s journal Literacy, Journal of Research in Reading.
The paper is titled A case study on the challenges of learning and teaching English spelling: insights from eight Australian students and their teachers (Volume 54, Number 3, September 2020 pp 99-110), and is available for purchase through Wiley online.
Dr Wayne Tennant, chair of the panel, commented: The journal committee were impressed by the clear and succinct manner in which the complexity of the spelling process was outlined, and the way that the voices of teachers and students were acknowledged. This paper has particularly relevance for classroom practice.
The authors have presented their work at the UKLA 56th International Conference, and further research into writing at the 2021 AATE ALEA Conference ‘Challenge and Change’ this July. (You can purchase the proceedings from the ALEA conference here.)
This is exactly what teachers need – credible research that is clear and succinct, with direct relevance to the classroom, and which provides authentic professional growth.
In the light of the creativity required, and demonstrated, in the public domain, our students need all the help we can give them.
Researchers, authors of novels and factual texts for children, poets, writers of both online and print texts, scriptwriters, artists, professional associations and Australian publishers provide exciting and varied contexts for classroom teachers to access materials for their classrooms. We can make the most of them.
Links for further information about the importance of teaching spelling at https://soundcloud.com/user-770146497/dr-tessa-daffern-teaching-spelling