The literacy and numeracy skills we have developed over our lifetime and that we now teach at school help us to learn, experiment, reason, create and to be active and informed citizens. This week is National Literacy and Numeracy Week. A week celebrated across Australia that is about coming together to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of literacy and numeracy skills in the lives of young people across Australia.
The week acknowledges student achievements and the contributions of teachers, parents and members of the community in the development of literacy and numeracy skills.
From foundational literacy and numeracy skills comes the development of more complex thinking and learning skills. Literacy and numeracy skills exist on a continuum, students move from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ which are both fundamental to students engaging with all subjects across the curriculum.
At the heart of the development of literacy is language
As students become literate they develop the ability to communicate across a range of spoken, visual and symbolic modes. To be literate is no longer relegated to being able to read and write, but now includes the ability to tell stories with words, sound and pictures and to decode and interpret multimodal texts that are now apart of our everyday lives. Technological developments have seen our definition of what it means to be literate expand, for as our methods of communication advance so to do our literacy skills.
Numeracy is all about being able to use mathematics to understand and make sense of our daily lives. Developing numeracy is about developing our abilities to effectively problem solve in a rapidly changing world. It is about the application of the skills students learn in class such as spatial awareness, structure and pattern, numbers, and measurement to explore and understand the world around them mathematically.
A virtuous circle: the development of literacy and numeracy skills and higher-order thinking practices
As students develop literacy and numeracy skills, over time the development of one enhances the development of the other. Over time, from the development of students literacy and numeracy, they develop the critical thinking skills to reason logically with argument and data, and the creative ability to experiment, question, give opinions and to create their very own texts.
Developing literacy and numeracy skills through play
When working with younger children, play and discovery learning are powerful tools for literacy and numeracy development. Play-based learning is a student-centred pedagogy that makes learning meaningful and contextual. At the end of the day, both literacy and numeracy are forms of communication and play-based learning is a powerful tool for the development of both.
Play-based learning activities for developing literacy and numeracy skills:
Role-play a trip to the shops
Using play money and a cash register, students in groups or pairs can role-play a trip to the shops. Using language to communicate with the cashier and applying their counting, addition and subtraction skills.
Bake a cake and develop student’s literacy and numeracy skills!
Students first read the recipe for instructions and ingredients, a literacy-building exercise. Then, students apply and develop their numeracy skills as they measure ingredients explore volume, quantity and measurement.
From literate to multiliterate
‘A broader definition of literacy incorporates all forms of communication, including the visual and performing arts as well as talking, listening and storytelling (DEEWR, 2009, p. 38).’
With the development of technology and mediums of communication, our notions of what it means to be literate have expanded to include a wider range of communication modes. It is now equally important that students are multiliterate as multimodal texts are increasingly becoming the norm. To learn more on multiliteracy and strategies to decode and understand multiliterate texts discover EnhanceTV’s active viewing strategies blog post.
Using EnhanceTV to develop literacy and numeracy abilities.
Reducing Food Waste
Season 1 | Episode 6 | ABC Me | June 3, 2019
Learn how to make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages in this episode targeted at the Primary maths curriculum where Stefan visits a unique grocery in Manchester and learns how to reduce food waste
Discover ABC’s Maths and English Minilessons:
In this series, Australian teachers explore everyday Maths and English skills in short video-clips. The video medium combines the aural, written and visual modalities all in one. The short clip format is a multimodal text type that activates dual-channel processing; that is when the audio-visual modes are combined and delivered at the same time and have been argued to be the best content delivery method.
Mini Lessons: Maths
ABC’s Maths and English lessons are delivered as mini-lessons. A minilesson is a short, focused meaningful learning event with an explicit learning objective. The point of a micro-lesson is to reduce information and cognitive overload and to transfer content to students that is optimised for student attention and retention.
The development of students literacy, numeracy and now multiliteracy skills is at the heart of what we do as teachers. We hope you can use EnhanceTV’s activities and video-resources to support you in the classroom this National Literacy and Numeracy Week.
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