The Importance of Literacy

15 March 2024

Keeping in step: St Peter’s Woodlands aligned with latest literacy research

Recently in the media, both on television and in reputable newspapers such as the Financial Review, references were made to a report from the Grattan Institute, “The Reading Guarantee: How to Give Every Child the Best Chance of Success”. The report says Australia is amid a reading crisis. A third of children cannot read at the level expected of them at their age and too often when they fall behind, there are few or inadequate measures to help get them back to where they should be.

The report goes on to say that to close the gap and address this crisis, schools should be looking to the Science of Reading. The Science of Reading reveals the latest and most conclusive empirically supported research based on the Science of Learning, on how students learn to read, what skills are involved and how they work together from Reception to Year 6, and its practical implications for classroom teaching and learning. The report goes on to say that this approach to teaching literacy should be mandated across all Australian schools.

Mrs Kate Gulliver, Reception Teacher, teaching students literacy.


This latest report validates the all-important work we have undertaken over the past few years at St Peter’s Woodlands embedding the Science of Reading approach as an essential element in supporting our student’s literacy success. Our commitment to the Science of Reading approach to teaching literacy is supported by our literacy coach, Jo Hirst, who models powerful reading lessons, undertakes observations of our teaching staff, and is engaged in coaching conversations to provide feedback to enhance our teachers’ expertise in teaching reading. An extension of this is our Sharing Our Practice initiative where we invite teachers from other schools to hear from Jo about the literacy programs run at SPW and update their own teaching practices.

As a result of our approach to teaching literacy, we are seeing our students’ results reflect our investment in the Science of Learning and the Science of Reading with a 30% increase in the amount of students reading at or above expected levels. This is supported by regular benchmarking and formative assessments that include Acadience Reading Assessments from Reception to Year 6, Literacy Screener Assessments from Reception to Year 2 and the South Australian Year 1 Phonics Check undertaken in Term 3 of Year 1. These touch points three times a year provide critical information on students’ progress to ensure they are meeting benchmarks and helps inform teachers on whether further intervention is required, either within or outside of the classroom, to keep students on track. Unpacking the data from these assessments also ensures that as a school we are keeping track of our progress on an individual student level as well as from a holistic school level.

We firmly believe our results can be attributed to the fact that our staff have a deep understanding of how children learn and continue to implement and refine these strategies and protocols to support engaged learning and achievement for our students. At St Peter’s Woodlands we are committed to ensuring our practice is based on the latest research and are continuously looking for ways to evolve and improve our practice.

To find out more, you can access the report here: The Reading Guarantee: How to give every child the best chance of success (

Read more about SPW’s literacy program:

Article shared by Principal, Helen Finlay 


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