17 September 2014
A USC academic who specialises in educating teachers on how to help students who have reading comprehension and learning difficulties has published a book on literacy that calls for more involvement from parents.
Dr Gary Woolley, who last year joined USC as Senior Lecturer in Education, wrote the book ‘Developing Literacy in the Primary Classroom’, which has already been published in England and is due for release in Australia.
International publisher Sage has aimed the book at British and Australasian schools.
“Literacy is a huge concern for parents and teachers with globalisation and the introduction of new technologies in the 21st century,” said Dr Woolley, who has more than 40 years’ experience teaching and lecturing in education, particularly in the areas of inclusion and diversity.
“Many young children are exposed to a range of literacy practices and technologies such as smart phones, Facebook, emails, multimedia and electronic games in their homes. Children who do not have access to these technologies and literacies will have an educational disadvantage at school.
“The challenge for today’s teacher is to firstly, understand how different literacies can empower learners and secondly, adapt their teaching to individual differences and changing technologies.
“One of the problems in modern society is that parents and caregivers have greater work-related commitments and may find it difficult to support their child’s formal learning.
“One chapter is devoted to how teachers can establish home/school partnerships to enhance children’s learning. It offers guidelines to help parents assist their children with home reading.”
Dr Woolley said his book and research would help expand the knowledge and skills of pre-service primary teachers at USC.
“At a time when there is debate in the media about our falling international standards in reading, this book includes decades of teaching experience and practical and theoretical research to inform teachers about the latest approaches.”
Independent schools in South-East Queensland, including Faith Lutheran College at Victoria Point, were involved in some of his research.
Dr Woolley, previously from Griffith University and the University of Canberra, completed his PhD on designing training programs for volunteer tutors to help students with reading comprehension difficulties.