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How Literacy is Different at Keys

One of the key reasons why knowledge is continuously passed on and cultures thrive for generations is because of the power of literacy. Reading and writing, the two major facets of literacy, have been integral in sustaining both academic and creative ideas and expressions among people from all walks of life. Literacy is a necessity to capture living ideas and that means it must be taught effectively. 

As a progressive institution, Keys School Manila follows sound principles and implements strong practices in teaching Literacy to the next generation—the students. Literacy Coordinator Monica Lopez - Javier gives an insightful discussion on what makes the subject essential in building a strong foundation for young readers and writers as they journey to be our future leaders and creatives.

In Keys, literacy education takes a distinctive approach, with a focus on fostering a love for reading and writing while developing essential skills. Keys implements a balanced literacy approach that gives importance to Reading, Writing and learning about Phonics and Grammar rules in Word Study and Grammar. 

This 6th Grader leads the class in reading “Inside Daniel’s Head” by Joji Reynes-Santos.

Lesson Presentation:

  • Engagement and Interaction: Keys places a strong emphasis on interactive and engaging lessons. A session starts with a mini-lesson where a teacher introduces a strategy and shows how a strategy is applied using a Mentor Text. Through Active Engagement, they try out a strategy together before they are sent off for Independent Reading or Writing.
  • Student-led Learning: Lessons are designed to be student-led, allowing learners to take an active role in their education. Students are encouraged to ask questions, explore topics of interest, and collaborate with their peers.

Literature-Grammar Connection: This Grade 5 student is reading “The Greediest of Rajahs and the Whitest of Clouds” by Honoel Ibardolaza and Brian Vallesteros as she looks for adjectives used in the story.

Use of Instructional Materials:

  • Diverse Resources: In Keys, students engage with diverse materials. Teachers incorporate a wide range of resources such as literature, multimedia, technology, and real-world examples to make learning relevant and engaging.
  • Choice: Students are given choices in their reading materials, allowing them to select books that align with their interests and reading levels. They are also encouraged to write based on their interests. This choice empowers them to become more motivated readers and writers.

This group of boys from Primary School are working on their personal narratives. This is an example of an authentic assessment as they craft their compositions that will be published and shared with the rest of the class at the end of the unit of study.

Assessment Methods:

  • Both formative and summative assessment methods are used to measure proficiency levels. Teachers engage in individual or group conferences to see how children are able to apply the teaching points and support them in their individual needs.
  • Authentic Assessment: Assessment is often tied to real-world tasks, such as students creating their own stories, essays, or presentations. The focus is on evaluating their ability to apply literacy skills in meaningful contexts.
  • Strength-Based Assessment: Instead of solely identifying weaknesses, teachers look at students through a lens of strength. Assessments are designed to recognize and build upon each student's unique abilities and areas of growth.

A group of Primary School students are closely reading each others’ work during their Writer’s Workshop session. This is an avenue for kids to learn from one another and practice peer feedback.

Choice, Conferring, and Strength-Based Approach:

  • Choice in Reading and Writing: Students are encouraged to choose books and writing topics that resonate with them. This autonomy fosters a sense of ownership over their learning.
  • Conferring and Support: Teachers regularly confer with students one-on-one or in small groups to provide  guidance, feedback, and support in their literacy journeys.
  • Strength-Based Approach: Instead of focusing solely on remediation, Keys recognizes and celebrates each student's strengths and talents, which contributes to a positive and nurturing learning environment.

Balanced literacy approach recognizes that literacy development involves both receptive skills (listening and reading) and expressive skills (speaking and writing). By incorporating ‘reading and writing to’,  ‘reading and writing by’ and ‘reading and writing with’ components, it creates a holistic learning environment that nurtures students' love for reading and writing while building their literacy skills and independence. Literacy in Keys follows an approach that values student engagement, choice, and a holistic view of each learner's abilities. By teaching strategies real readers and authors use, emphasizing choice, providing individualized support, and adopting a balanced literacy approach, Keys aims to cultivate lifelong learners who are passionate about reading and writing.”

In his speech titled Literacy and Education in a 21st-Century Economy in 2005, Barack Obama firmly stated, “Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy we’re living in today.” His words remain true and are more relevant than ever. That is why at Keys, we see to it that the Literacy curriculum empowers individual readers and writers to be critical and creative, so that they are ready to contribute the best insights that they have to their families, friends, and the society as a whole. 

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