Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students

Introduction to the course

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This online professional learning course was developed to assist primary and secondary teachers and school leaders with their professional learning about literacy teaching and learning. The content of this course is on the teaching and learning about reading, with a specific focus on the role of Independent Reading, the establishment and use of classroom libraries and on the importance of teachers conferring with their students during Independent Reading. However, because the effectiveness of students' Independent Reading is greatly influenced by other teaching and learning practices, the following topics are also included:

  • The relationship between Independent Reading and the teaching of reading during Read-aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading and other whole class, small group and individual practices.
  • Assessment and teaching of the major parts of the reading curriculum- the reading process, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, decoding and response to reading (including the use of Book Clubs or Literature Circles).


The ideas and suggestions apply to all year levels but the examples included range from prep to year 9.

Purposes of this Professional Learning Course

A major goal for all schools is for their students to be competent, thoughtful readers, who enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning and who can read a wide range of print and digital texts, enabling them to enrich their lives and to participate effectively and fully in today's society. Students of all ages need multiple opportunities to engage in enjoyable, sustained, independent reading of a variety of texts in order to learn to read and continue their development as proficient, thoughtful readers throughout their lives. So the main purposes of this course are:

  • To ensure that teachers and school leaders understand the importance of students having sufficient time and resources to engage in Independent Reading.
  • To help teachers to know how to best manage Independent Reading and to use this time to assess their students' reading while conferring with them, to provide appropriate feedback to students about their reading, to establish learning goals for each student and to ensure that students know how to achieve those goals.
  • To help teachers to know how to record and use the information about their students' reading to plan the most appropriate instruction and support for the whole class, for flexible groups and for individuals.
  • To help school leaders and teachers to understand how classroom libraries should be resourced and organised to support Independent Reading.
  • To provide insight to the type of teaching and learning about reading that is required to support students' Independent Reading at all levels and in all domains, including instruction in the reading process, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, decoding and response to reading.


Summary of the content of this professional learning course

At the end of this professional learning course you should understand more about:

  • What is Independent Reading
  • Why students should independently read every day for extended periods of time across all domains
  • How students' ability and willingness to read independently is affected by the type of reading instruction, the classroom environment, the modelling of reading by teachers and others, the range and organisation of readily available reading resources and the amount of time allowed for sustained reading
  • How Independent Reading is supported by and linked to Read-aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading and other reading experiences in all domains, using the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
  • Why students should read ‘just right' texts that they can independently read and why they should also have opportunities to read challenging and easy texts
  • How Independent Reading affects students' motivation to read, with reading being an enjoyable experience, so that students will not only become more proficient readers but will also want to read frequently
  • How to establish routines for Independent Reading times so that students have the maximum benefit for their literacy development during those times
  • How to establish appropriate resources for Independent Reading, especially classroom libraries, involving students in the establishment and management of the resources, and how the school and public libraries and librarians or technicians play an important role in this work
  • Why Independent Reading is necessary to ensure students effectively develop comprehension, fluency, vocabulary and decoding strategies and can thoughtfully respond to texts
  • How to conduct the most useful kind of formative reading assessment by conferring effectively with students during Independent Reading
  • How to develop students' metacognition so that they are aware of and can articulate their own reading strengths and goals, using appropriate language, and can self-evaluate
  • How to establish reading goals with students and set tasks to support students' achievement of those goals
  • How to use the assessment of reading to plan instruction for the whole class, groups and individuals
  • How to support reading at home
  • How students' independent reading affects their knowledge about writing

Have you also read the Protocols and the How to Use this Professional Learning Course pages?

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Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students