Foundational skills are those skills that all people need to master in order to increase their success in school, work and life. They are the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking that we call Literacy, as well as the basic ability to use, understand and apply the use of numbers that we call Mathematical Literacy or Numeracy.
The Ministry of Education has provided a Parent Guide for Reading and Writing With Your Child, Kindergarten to Grade 6.
COMING SOON: More resources for parents and families
The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board provides a variety of support services, resources and assistance to students, families, and staff through the Program branch of the Teaching and Learning Department.
Qualified teaching staff offer direct support to elementary and secondary teachers in all subject areas, with emphasis on literacy and numeracy. These same teachers are tasked with implementing ministry initiatives and Program Principles by:
- supporting the implementation of the School Effectiveness Framework
- supporting student achievement through the development of numeracy and literacy skills
- providing professional learning opportunities for students outside the classroom
- assisting English language learners in our schools
- supporting the implementation of the Ontario First Nation, Metis and Inuit Education Policy Framework
- deepening teacher awareness of and confidence with the continuum of curriculum expectations and instructional strategies
- allowing teachers to collaboratively explore the critical role of classroom assessments
- adopting standardized forms and procedures, and
- promoting collection development for school libraries.
Literacy Requirements and Programs
Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT): All secondary students are required to meet the literacy graduation requirement in order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Most students who are working towards an OSSD will meet the literacy graduation requirement by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in their Grade 10 year; some students may meet the requirement by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).
The literacy graduation requirement is based on the expectations for reading and writing throughout the Ontario curriculum up to and including Grade 9. Its purpose is to determine whether students have the skills in reading and writing that they will need to succeed at school, at work, and in daily life.
The OSSLT is administered through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) once each year, usually in the spring (late March or early April). Students will normally take the OSSLT when they are in Grade 10. For more information on the OSSLT, including previous years’ tests, practice test materials, and future test administration dates, please visit the EQAO website.
Grade 9 Practice Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (POSSLT): For the past four years, all Grade 9 students in KPR have written a Practice Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (POSSLT) based on the binder Aiming for Success: The Grade 9 Practice Literacy Test Binder. This test acquaints students with the format and expectations of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and sets them up for success in fulfilling the literacy requirement.
Cross-curricular literacy teams at each school participate in moderated marking of the Grade 9 Practice Literacy Test. Then, teachers analyze the test results to identify students with literacy needs and support them in further developing their cross-curricular literacy skills. In addition, each secondary school has a cross-curricular plan for improving Grade 9 and 10 students’ literacy skills; please speak with your school’s vice-principal or Literacy Position of Responsibility (POR) for an outline of that plan.
Grade 7-8 OSSLT Literacy Binder: Every elementary school has two copies of Literacy for All: An OSSLT Resource Binder for Grades 7 and 8 (Revised 2008). This binder reflects the current Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and provides Grades 7 and 8 students with explicit practice on the reading and writing skills evaluated on the OSSLT.
For teachers, the binder provides cross-curricular OSSLT-like reading and writing activities that are curriculum-based. Once implemented, teachers can use student performance on these tasks to further support struggling students.
OSSLC (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course): The OSSLC was introduced in the 2003-2004 school year as an alternative means of fulfilling the literacy requirement for graduation. The course counts as a compulsory English credit, but does not meet the English requirement for college or university study. KPR teachers have created the OSSLC Assessment and Evaluation Materials Binder which contains a mid-semester and end of semester unit. Every semester, OSSLC teachers are invited to two full day sessions for teacher moderation and effective literacy practice instruction.
Writes of Passage: Writes of Passage is a board-wide secondary writing celebration that has been happening for four years. It values the diverse writing skills of secondary students in all programs, such as students in Applied, Academic, Locally Developed, College, University, Workplace, Learning and Life Skills (LLS) and ELL classes. Every secondary school submits five students’ work to a Review Panel who write extensive, positive reviews of the student work. For more information, contact the English Department Head (POR) at your local secondary school.
Reading Tutor Programs: Trent University’s B.Ed. Program, in partnership with Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB, provides reading tutors to area high schools every Tuesday and Thursday morning from September to December. Also, secondary schools have a variety of peer tutor and peer reading programs to improve students’ cross-curricular literacy skills.
Board-wide Professional Learning Communities: For the past four years, Grades 7-10 teachers have been invited to be a part of professional learning communities that have focused on: effective adolescent literacy instruction, 6 Traits Writing Instruction, leadership, technology, assessment, and differentiated instruction.
Please take a look at the guides and other resources on eWorkshop with information for parents and teachers.