Our Literacy

Martinborough School’s Philosophy about Literacy:

In English, students study, use and enjoy language and literature communicated orally, visually, or in writing.

Information Literacy

Through the advances made through technology, the walls of the classroom and the library have expanded to include the entire world. Technology gives us physical access to a wealth of information. However, the information housed on servers throughout the globe and in software and print resources is so abundant that finding what they need is a daunting task. Students must possess information literacy to put the information to good use.

Information literate students access, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources. They are organized investigators who question and wonder, find and sort, consume and gulp information. They think, create, summarize and conclude. They communicate effectively and reflect on the process as well as the product. Martinborough School aims to create information literate learners who will succeed in the Information Age.

Literacy Fundamentals

  • Literacy skills, especially reading and writing skills, need to be learned together, because one reinforces the other. Every reading approach should teach these skills in some way or another.
  • Literacy learners need to learn the code of written language. This learning includes phonological awareness, knowledge of the alphabetic principle and of phoneme-grapheme relationships, knowledge of how words work, and automatic recognition or spelling of familiar words.
  • Literacy learners need to learn to make meaning of texts. This learning includes the use of background knowledge, vocabulary knowledge, and knowledge about literacy, and strategies to convey meaning.
  • Literacy learners need to think critically. This includes analysing and responding to texts and bring a critical awareness to reading and writing.
  • We recognise that learning to read and write is a complex, cumulative process. Students build on their existing expertise and use their developing knowledge in skills in different ways. However, there are particular skills and items of knowledge that all students need to master in order to develop their independence and fluency sufficiently to engage successfully with a range of texts and tasks required, across the curriculum and at various points in schooling.

Oral Language

The literacy learning progressions take account of the significant role of oral language in thinking and learning. Students not only need to learn the language of the classroom in order to participate in every curriculum activity; they also draw on their oral language knowledge and skills to develop their expertise in reading and writing.


The reading progressions describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students draw on when they use their reading as an interactive tool. Early on this focus is on the constrained knowledge and skills that students need in order to decode. When students have learned to process texts fluently, they can use more of their cognitive resources to engage with meaning, examine texts critically, and control reading strategies flexibly. As the texts become more complex, students are expected to respond in ways that relate to their purposes for reading.


The writing progressions describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students draw on when they create texts. Because of the role of writing as an interactive tool across the curriculum, there is a specific focus on purpose in the writing progressions. Students use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas and information. The students’ purpose for writing will determine the process they use. As with decoding, once the students become competent with encoding, they can use more of their cognitive resources to convey meaning. The texts that they create will become more complex as the content becomes more specialised.


Writing Assessment: P.I.L.O.T – This is a progressions based assessment based on samples of the students work. This is moderated across the syndicate and school. Overall Teacher Judgements are respected with the writing assessments, and are not always based solely on one piece of work. This assessment is continuous across the school, so that clear progressions can be followed through their Primary years. . Level 1 is at the earliest years of Primary schooling and Level 5 the early High School years. Each of the levels is further broken into 3, A= Apprentice, P = Practitioner and E = Expert.

Running Records and Probes:

Teachers  carry out running records and probes on a regular basis. This determines what level the student is reading at, what strategies they have mastered or need to develop. This assists the teacher in developing programmes suited to their individual needs.

Oral Language:

This is assessed in different ways. Early on this will be observational assessments, and as they develop their language skills, will become more formally assessed, according to the skills progressions.

Information Literacy: - This skill will assessed in different ways suited to the context in which it is being taught, and as a component of different skill teaching.


These assessments are for reading comprehension, and are conducted from year 4 upwards. PAT is a NZ standardised test of ability in Reading. Students working at a level comparable with students of their own class level have stanines 4, 5 or 6. Stanine 7, 8, 9 indicate students are working at a level above that of students of their current class level.


This is another standardised reading test, taken from year 3. It is used to track individuals progress, and as a national comparison. It is also graded in stanines ( a standardised nine step assessment

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