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For the last three years, Cobram Secondary College has been implementing a series of initiatives to improve reading growth across the college. This has resulted in high levels of reading growth for our students. The tremendous achievements were particularly evident in the 2018 NAPLAN Data, with Year 9 students achieving relative growth above both State and National averages.

An integral component of the work has been their involvement in the Melbourne University Network of Schools program as a member of the Goulburn Valley Network. Over a three period, selected staff participated in Professional Development by globally esteemed academics such as Professor John Hattie and Literacy Consultant, Diane Snowball. Through ongoing internal staff learning, they have developed every staff members’ understanding of how to explicitly teach reading and built it into their curriculum in all learning areas.

Students participate in independent reading each morning, as a part of their ‘Illuminate’ program. As the name suggests, ‘Illuminate’ is designed to provide the opportunity for students to cast light upon the skills used by effective readers to allow them to make meaning from the written word. This is achieved through a combination of mini lessons which provide an opportunity for the explicit instruction of a key reading skill and plenty of time to practise skills through sustained, independent reading of texts selected by each student.

As a result of their work and documented growth, program coordinator and Leading Teacher – Teaching and Learning, Penelope Jones, was invited to share the journey of staff and students as a part of the prestigious ‘Talking Teaching’ podcast series developed by Melbourne University during the last week of the summer holidays. She was interviewed by ex-ABC presenter and current Support Director of UoM Network of Schools, Maxine McKew. It is expected that this interview will be released around the 12 February and is available on iTunes for interested listeners.

Illuminate