English Language Arts
For the purposes of this document, literacy is defined in terms of:
    • the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading and writing, listening and speaking, viewing and representing.

Because of our rapidly changing social and economic environment, it is crucial that we ensure our students leave our schools with a diversity of skills and are competent in the use of the newer communication tools and ever-changing media.

This literacy competence is essential as students progress through the early, middle and senior years of school and as they move into the workplace.

As a school division, we believe that:
  • All children can learn to read and write at some level and at different rates.
  • Literacy development begins long before children enter school so it is essential that our schools make a determined effort to include families as partners in their children’s literacy journey.
  • Since all children enter school with varying qualities and quantities of literacy and life experiences our teaching practices must be designed so that every child has an equal opportunity to become literate.
  • Some children will require more support than others in the acquisition of literacy skills and this support will need to be provided in a variety of ways, including Resource support, Early Literacy initiatives, Later Literacy initiatives or in small group settings within and outside the regular classroom setting.
  • Early identification of children experiencing difficulty with learning to read and write is crucial if appropriate support and instruction is to be provided. Ongoing assessment and documentation of children’s literacy learning will support the implementation of such supports.
  • Literacy instruction in our division’s classrooms must reflect current developments in literacy theory and practice. Practices which are considered to be most effective in supporting children’s learning must be adopted.
  • We have learned much about the reading/writing process but much is still to be learned. However, we do know that our teaching practices should allow children to use and integrate all the cueing systems – semantic, syntactic and phono graphemic. Any approach which focuses on one system only is detrimental to children’s learning, especially children at risk.
  • Teachers must provide a balanced literacy program that uses a variety of appropriate approaches and resources so that children at all levels of literacy development are supported and challenged.
  • Teacher expectations affect the literacy learning of students. High expectations usually bring high results and low expectations bring the reverse.
  • Collaboration between all partners in the teaching/learning process is essential for the development of a high quality literacy program which aims to provide the best learning opportunities for all children.
  • A school environment which displays good reading /writing resources and exemplars enhances literacy development.
  • Access to current technology can greatly enhance the development of good reading/writing skills.
  • Ongoing professional development for teachers is a vital component in the establishment of quality literacy programs within a division. Educators have a professional responsibility to keep abreast of current literature pertaining to literacy development.

For the past several years the Flin Flon School Division has been placing heavy emphasis on how we can prepare the students of our division to meet these challenges. With this in mind we have adopted as our goal: 95% of students will achieve one year’s growth in numeracy and literacy in a given school year.

We have undertaken a number of projects which include assessment for learning, CAT 4 testing to determine student reading and writing levels, early intervention programs, later literacy programs and review of current practice.

Evolving out of this work and various committee structures has grown the desire to document essential learnings at each grade level (outcomes which all students will be expected to meet at their grade level) and a writing continuum which will guide teachers and students in the reflective writing process. Grade level meetings were held with teachers to develop the essential learning lists. We were very fortunate to have connected with the Angus McKay School in River East Transcona School Division who were willing to share their writing continuum, which we have tweaked for our school division.