The ability to read is an essential skill that forms the basis for learning. All students have the ability to learn and achieve their own personal best if they are supported by teachers and schools that successfully foster literacy learning; however, for a variety of reasons not all students achieve literacy success. The purpose of this research was to explore the successful literacy learning practices achieved across a whole primary school. The research question asked ‘How do teachers facilitate successful literacy learning in a high performing primary school in South East Queensland?’ This research project presents a case study of one school’s ongoing practices that contribute to achieving successful literacy learning for all students. The research was conducted through three separate phases, using interviews, classroom observations and an online survey. Phase 1 aimed to identify the ethos and expectations that govern whole school practices, through semi-structured interviews with various members of the school’s leadership team. Classroom observations of one teacher from each year level (Prep to Year 6) were conducted in Phase 2, in order to identify individual teacher literacy practices. Finally Phase 3 sought to consolidate findings accumulated from across the research project through an anonymous online survey. Teachers who had previously participated in classroom observations, took part in the online survey to confirm and reinforce the successful literacy practices being implemented across the school. The results identify eight practices that occur consistently across whole school and classroom practice. First, striving for continual self-improvement on both a whole school and individual level is supported through the second practice of open communication and a united goal for success. Third, accompanied by a plethora of stimulating resources and fourth, appropriate support systems, the fifth practice of meaningful literacy learning is achieved. Thus the sixth practice of fostering positive mindsets within staff and students is achieved, as well as the seventh, developing personal and professional growth across the school. The implications of these findings demonstrate that through the eighth practice of consistent individual teacher practice, which reflects School ABC’s ethos, successful literacy learning is attainable. Additional research could be undertaken to explore these findings with a broader scope of teachers within the same school. Further a comparison could be conducted to see how these findings align with literacy practices being implemented within other high performing schools.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Education (Research), University of the Sunshine Coast, 2016.