Young Readers, Young Leaders

Teachers became the students for a day at a workshop to hone their skills in teaching literacy.

The workshop included 380 teachers from 31 Catholic primary schools in the Broken Bay Diocese, which covers parts of Sydney and the Central Coast. It was held at the Light of Christ Hall in Waitara on Friday 28 April.

The workshop was run by Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey, who are internationally recognised experts in literacy and authors of The Writing Book.

Ms Cameron and Ms Dempsey shared practical ideas for planning and teaching writing to students at all levels of literacy. Teachers learned evidence-based ways to teach writing and embed oral language skills in primary school kids.

Michelle Perry, Assistant Principal and leader of literacy at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in East Gosford, said she was struck by the “wisdom and expertise” of the practical tasks. “The range and depth of the activities explored on the day took into account the diverse needs of the students,” she said.

Jemma Satchell, a teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Mona Vale, agreed. “It was a motivating and encouraging day,” she said. “Sheena and Louise offered practical ideas that I have been able to implement into my classroom straight away.

“The beauty of these strategies is that they can be applied from Kindergarten to Year 6,” said Karen Townsend, Assistant Principal at Prouille Catholic Primary School in Wahroonga. “They ensure students are central to the learning process.”

Dr Mark Askew, Head of Educational Services at the Catholic Schools Diocese of Broken Bay, said Broken Bay was a top performing Australian school system due to “the quality of our school leaders and teachers, together with the quality of professional learning offered by the Catholic Schools Office.”

“The success of this professional learning day, and ongoing learning in our schools, can be seen in classrooms across the system. Teachers continue to build on their knowledge and expertise in teaching English in order to support student achievement in literacy,” said Mr Askew.