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Enhancing literacy

At Tyndale Christian School in Adelaide, LiteracyPlanet’s comprehensive e-learning program is helping to develop English literacy skills and improve student engagement.

At Tyndale Christian School in Adelaide, LiteracyPlanet’s comprehensive e-learning program is helping to develop English literacy skills and improve student engagement.

All Middle School students at Tyndale Christian School have a personal laptop and teachers use a variety of digital resources across all curriculum subjects. After trialling a variety of online resources for English, the school chose to implement LiteracyPlanet based on its variety of content; its ability to effectively target the development of spelling, grammar and comprehension skills; its ease of use for both students and teachers; and its ability to work with each student’s individual needs and skillsets.

“The school wanted to be able to help students consolidate their learning in an engaging way,” says Meredith Lockery, Tyndale’s Director of Studies. “All of our students have personal devices from Years 4 and up, so we were looking for an IT based program that could be accessed through the cloud, and provided enhanced learning opportunities for students. As LiteracyPlanet can be used as an individualised program, students can work at their own pace and level in order to improve their literacy outcomes.”

Cassandra Quast, Middle School English Curriculum Leader, agrees. “Differentiation is a focus for us, so the ability to assign templates at different levels for students to work on simultaneously was significant in our decision.”

Tyndale first started using the program at its Salisbury East campus in mid 2017, where it is now in use across Years 6 to 9. Due to the success of the program, the school introduced it to the Murray Bridge campus in early 2019, where it has been implemented for students in Years 7 to 10.

Each week, students engage with LiteracyPlanet during English class work and homework. And, as Mrs Lockery reveals, the program has been widely embraced by the Tyndale students. “

They really love the program. We have many students asking when they are going to be able to use it next and they’ve been thrilled with their literacy results. Tyndale has a strong focus on creating a sense of community, and through LiteracyPlanet, we can observe improvements in their results across the board. This has created a real collegial element, where all students put in their best to increase these overall results. This community of learning is a great thing for students to embrace because they understand it’s not just about them, but about everybody in the school community.”

At Tyndale, English teachers for each year level create programs and share these with each other for planning efficiency. In Years 6 and 7, students complete a number of homework activities created from LiteracyPlanet’s spelling lists, and at the end of the week they are assessed via a different spelling activity within the program.

Students can practise their literacy skills using LiteracyPlanet and the program has become a popular way to consolidate learning of the concepts and strategies taught in class, particularly for comprehension and grammar in Years 8 and 9.

The program is often used as a tool for English literacy revision for students who struggle with a particular skill or topic. Individual tasks are established to help that student develop their understanding. At the other end of the spectrum, it is used for differentiation for high ability learners, with teachers setting extension tasks that require them to work to the standard they are capable of.

Through its immediate feedback, students of all abilities can better understand concepts and progress more quickly.

Tyndale’s teachers list the variety of exercises, time-saving functions like automated marking, being able to easily see students’ progress, and the ability to set tailored work for students of different abilities as some of the most important aspects of the LiteracyPlanet program. “I love that I can assign work to all of my students to work on simultaneously, that meets their individual learning needs in all aspects of English. Whether they find English difficult or excel in the subject, there are always tasks to set that will help them to achieve their best,” says Ms Quast.

“I have seen spelling results in my Year 6 class dramatically improve. Some students have recorded results of up to 40 per cent improvement since the start of the year.”

To add, the gamified aspects of the program help to make learning fun and entertaining which also assists with student engagement.

“LiteracyPlanet has definitely been living up to what we were hoping for in terms of student engagement, improvements in literacy skills and helping students to be excited about a subject they might not have been overly excited about before – it has been ticking all of these boxes very nicely,” Mrs Lockery concludes.

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