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Literacy outcomes

Early stages of the project

The next two writing samples illustrate the kind of development that were achieved by target students at the beginning of the project. At this stage, teachers did not yet have full control of the Reading to Learn strategies, and were still influenced by standard teaching practices. One such standard practice is known as ‘modelled writing’. In this activity a text is read and discussed with the class, and students are asked to write a text of their own modelled on it. These activities resemble the Reading to Learn strategies of detailed reading and text patterning, but are far less supportive for students to use the language resources of the model text.

Writing sample 3: low range

The following text response was written after watching and discussing a film, and reading model reviews, but without whole class text patterning to support the writing activity.

Bend it like beckham
Film Review

The movie is about a girl who has a dream to be like David beckhm.

One day as Jess Minder was playing in the park with her friends a girl called Jules came to the park and saw how good Jess was good at soccer. Jules invited Jess to play soccer for her rep team. Then they travelled to Germany to verse [sic] a team. Jess and the team went to a club and Jess tried to hook up with the coach when Jules liked him so they had a fight.

Her sister was having a wedding and she could not go to an important game so she ends up leaving and going to the game. They one [sic] and Jess and Jules got selected by the selector so she ended up playing soccer and becoming good at it.

The end

PURPOSE
evaluate a visual text (movie) – but only recounts events
STAGING
Orientation and Record of events – no evaluation of text
FIELD
summarises events relevant to student’s experience
TENOR
no evaluation
MODE
a spoken story written down
PHASES
only setting and events phases, stage 2 level
LEXIS
mostly spoken lexis, but some specialised soccer, rep team, selector
CONJUNCTION
simple time sequence with then
REFERENCE
reference is simple but clear
APPRAISAL
almost no appraisal how good Jess was good, important game, becoming good
GRAMMAR
simple spoken grammar with some problems
SPELLING
generally accurate with some problems
PUNCTATION
control of sentence punctuation and letter cases
PRESENTATION
uses paragraphs


This text clearly displays the ineffectiveness of standard practices such as modelled writing to adequately support weaker students to produce successful text Reponses. Although the student can use accurate spelling, punctuation and paragraphs, she has no resources for producing a review that evaluates a text. As a result she is restricted to simply recounting the film’s events from her own perspective.

Writing sample 4: high range

The following sample was produced after detailed reading of a story, but without whole class text patterning. The story that was read was A Good Tip for Ghosts by Paul Jennings, in which two boys encounter a ghost in a rubbish tip. Elements of this story are used by the writer here. The students were then asked to write their own ghost story.

My Ghost story
When I was 13, I was walking down the road with my best friend Mitchell.
It was my birthday & my parents weren’t home, so we went to egg people houses (sic) One the way home around midnight we had to walk past the tip. The story that was going round at the time that there lived a ghost in the tip.
As we were about half way past, we heard a weird nosie.
We went to investigate, when we got there a rat was rolling a tin can. We heard the nosie again except it wasn’t tin can.
We went to investigate again we saw this thing floating in the air like something invisible was taking it along with them.
We were so scare that we screamed so loud that the whole town could here us.
Everyone came & by that time the ghost left.’
Everyone thought we were just causing trouble.
Every since we never walk around town after 6:00pm.
The End!!!

PURPOSE
attempted narrative – Complication is thing floating in the air
STAGING
Complication signalled by time theme As we were about half way past - Evaluation We were so scare but Resolution is weak the ghost left
FIELD
plot is partly borrowed from a read story, with some personal and imaginative elements
TENOR
personalised with best friend and my birthday – feelings are expressed in Evaluation
MODE
a slightly more written story, expected Stage 3 level
PHASES
setting and comment in Orientation – minor problem and then major problem in Complication – reaction in Evaluation
LEXIS
generally coherent, so that the story makes sense – some written lexis, went to investigate, floating in the air like something invisible
CONJUNCTION
sequenced with time themes One the way home around midnight etc
REFERENCE
reference is simple but clear
APPRAISAL
some use of appraisal weird noise, screamed so loud that the whole town could here us
GRAMMAR
grammar is generally controlled, with some problems
SPELLING
generally accurate with some problems
PUNCTATION
control of sentence punctuation and letter cases
PRESENTATION
no use of paragraphs


While this student controls more literacy skills than the first sample, the practice of ‘modelled writing’ does not provide sufficient support for students at this level to use the written language that they read in model texts. Modelled writing provides slightly more support for students than personal story writing illustrated with sample 1, but still pushes weaker students to write an original story before they are ready to do so successfully.

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These materials are provided for research purposes and may contain opinions that are not shared by the Board of Studies NSW.