According to the Australian Curriculum Website, the definition of literacy in the Australian Curriculum is informed by a social view of language that considers how language works to construct meaning in different social and cultural contexts. This view builds on the work of Vygotsky (1976), Brice Heath (1983), Halliday and Hasan (1985), Freebody and Luke (1990), Gee (1991, 2008), and Christie and Derewianka (2008), who have articulated the intrinsic and interdependent relationship between social context, meaning and language.

In my classroom Literacy means all the knowledge and skills you need to communicate using common language systems.  Literacy includes reading, writing, speaking and listening.  My students quickly learn that Literacy is more than JUST English.

Therefore Literacy is an innate part of any educational setting.  Many teachers who claim to know nothing about literacy instruction often incorporate literacy in their lessons without even realising it.  Deliberately incorporating literacy instruction is easier than it seems.

 #1 TEACH VOCABULARY (Reading/ Writing/ Speaking and Listening)

This is possibly the easiest way to incorporate literacy into your content lessons.  Think of the words that are in everyday use, but have a technical meaning in your classroom.  It might seem silly to suggest that the word “table” could cause confusion in your classroom, but it is the perfect example of how one word can have different meanings depending on the context.  Therefore, if you have to explain the technical meaning of words in your classroom, you are already teaching vocabulary.  There will also be several words that are unique to your subject matter.

How do you do it better? There are lots of vocabulary activities you can use to improve and revise your students’ content knowledge.  Vocabulary Strategies that Work: Do this- Not That! by Lori Wilfong, was reviewed by The Educator’s Room earlier this year and has a great selection of strategies you can use.  It is written by an educator and is an easy read for busy teachers.  You could also check out the vocabulary activities on my Literacy blog.

Click here for tip #2.

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