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Secondary School Case Study

List of Contents
1. Introduction
2. The literacy strengths and weaknesses of the student
3. Strategies to use
4. Conclusion
5. Bibliography

In the modern education literacy is extremely important and the lack of knowledge and sills in literacy can affect dramatically other subjects which are not directly linked to the language competency. This is why it is extremely important to pay a particular attention to the development of students’ literacy which in actuality is the basis of the successful learning in modern schools. Nevertheless, many students face serious problems in this respect and they cannot really afford the demands that many subject impose on them because of their problems related to poor literacy. In fact, this was the major problem William faced in the given case study. At the same time, it should be said that similar problems are typical for many other students. This is why it is necessary to develop effective strategies that could really help solve the problem of the lack of literacy skills and knowledge which threaten to the further academic progress and successes of students.
The literacy strengths and weaknesses of the student
On analyzing the case of William, it should be pointed out that the boy is not totally hopeless. In stark contrast, he has not only literacy weakness but strengths as well. In this respect, it is necessary to say that William has problems with Science and Geography mainly, while he is quite strong in all the other subjects since he has no such problems as he has with the two subjects mentioned above. To put it more precisely, his major weakness is the inability to adequately understand terms that are used in Science and Geography. This means that he is not very strong in the perception of complicated scientific terms which he does not come across in his everyday life. Moreover, he obviously needs to get used to the new conditions of his life and learning since, as he spent a lot of time in Asia, he could not fail to get used to a different teaching style and where his literacy knowledge were probably sufficient.
At the present moment, the boy has to get used to a new social environment and new teaching style and learning process that is naturally quite difficult and it is quite natural that he turns to be quite weak in the process of adaptation to the new demands, rules and norms, including not only learning process at large, but also literacy since the demands in this respect are obviously higher and more strict in Australia than in Asian countries he used to study at.
In general, it should be said that the change of socio-cultural environment inevitably affects the student’s literacy, especially at such a young age as 10. The situation is complicated by the situation within his family because the problems in his relations with his parents and step-father also negatively affect his learning and literacy.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to underline that William obviously have certain strengths, regardless his current problems. For instance, it is possible to estimate that he is quite good in the subjects other but Geography and Science that means that he can normally and successfully learn as long as there are no complicated terms introduced. Furthermore, it is obvious that the boy can be potentially a creative person since he loves music that naturally contributes to his aesthetic development. At the same time, music can enlarge his literacy skills if the boy extrapolates what he listens into a written form and attempt to analyze it in depth. In such a way, his love to music may be a strong tool that can be used to overcome his problem.
Also, it should be said that the boy is learning in a private and very respectable school where he receives a lot of attention that means that potentially he has all essential opportunities to close his gaps in literacy and catch up other students and be successful enough in such subjects as Science and Geography. Moreover, William has even got a mentor who is supposed to help him in overcoming his difficulties.
Anyway, it is necessary to remember that William is just a 10 years old boy and his knowedge and skills in literacy cannot be fully formed yet and, thus, he has a serious potential for the further development and growth. In this respect, his past experience may be quite helpful since the years spent in Asia could help not simply get acquainted with different cultures but also with different languages and, probably, he has acquired certain skills in foreign language or even languages so that he just lacks the experience to extrapolate them on his native language and improve his literacy.

Strategies to use
Taking into consideration the current problems of William, it should be said that he mainly faces the problem of the lack of comprehension of certain terms in Science and Geography. Naturally, the strategies that should be applied in his case should be focused on the elimination of any sort of incomprehension and, consequently, be concentrated on the development of skills of comprehension of new texts regardless certain problems with understanding of terms that William has at the moment.
Obviously, the comprehension is really important since it is not a secret that the essence of any successful learning is comprehension because, if a student cannot understand some important terms or interpret them correctly in a plausible form, than he will hardly be able to understand the text or the subject at large.
At the same time, it is worthy of mention that the essence of reading comprehension is creating meaning and this is exactly what William needs to learn. Obviously, on coming across an abundance of complicated terms he simply stumbles and cannot fully understand the meaning of the entire text or learning material. Naturally, it is impossible to learn effectively the subjects William has problems with if he cannot understand the meaning of texts or learning materials because of the lack of understanding of those terms.
In such a situation, the logical step to overcome the difficulties in the learning process for William would be the development of effective strategies targeting at the development of skills and abilities to think for meaning. In this respect, it is possible to develop different strategies and approaches to develop these skills and abilities.
First of all, it is necessary to focus on predicting. It is not a secret that many good readers start with quick glances over the text and making some type of prediction about what they are going to read. These strategies may be applied to William’s learning and work with texts on Science and Geography and the boy can be asked to make a prediction about a text before he starts to work directly with the body of the text. For instance, it is possible to look for familiar words or topics that they boy knows well and that may be found in a text. On perceiving these words, he will easier read and understand the entire text since from the first glance he can realize that this is not a total nonsense full of strange terms but, in contrast, a text with well known words and topics he perfectly understands. This approach is important in overcoming William’s unwillingness or fear to learn Science and Geography and work with the texts on these subjects. The familiar words and topics William may encounter in such texts may trigger thoughts from his own background knowledge about the topic at large. Also this strategy may stimulate his desire to go further just simply glancing and scheming of the text in search for familiar words and topics. Being interested by familiar words and topics William will be naturally interested in the further reading of the entire text and its comprehension.
Furthermore, another strategy that may be recommended to use after predicting, is monitoring. It should be said that, as the reading process occurs, good readers are actively self monitoring their understanding of the text. Normally, they continue reading if the text makes sense and, what is more important, if they do not understand the text they stop and self-correct. In fact, this is what William has to learn or to be taught to do. Obviously, his problems arise from the fact that different terms he does not understand gradually become more and more frequent or concentrated in his mind as he reads a text to the extent that he eventually cannot adequately perceive it. On the other hand, the root of this problem ma y be found in the moment when the boy meet a term that deteriorates his comprehension of the text but, as the boy do not monitor himself, he skips this moment and keeps reading till he encounters another term, and than more and more such terms, while, if he applied the strategy of monitoring he would rather stop reading when he encountered the first term and he would more likely to understand its meaning from the context. Similarly he could interpret all the other terms. As a result, he would adequately perceive the entire text and could understand it, or its basic points.
Also, it is possible to use such a strategy as confirming which is very important. It should be said that good readers are almost always aware of the goal of the reading, and at certain points, they stop to confirm whether their earlier predictions concerning the text are correct and whether the reading meets its goals. At the same time, they may find that the text corresponds to their similar thoughts about the topic from their own background knowledge. William also should acquire such skills of confirming since this will make sense of the two previously discussed strategies and will keep the boy’s interest to the learning material he attempts to understand. Obviously, this approach can increase the effectiveness of reading since the boy will be aware of what he actually reads and what he reads for.
At the same time, it is equally obvious that the reading and comprehension of the text are not self-sufficient. In stark contrast, the basic goal of reading and learning of new material is traditionally larger and implies that the reading will stimulate the students’ further thinking. In such a situation, it is necessary to underline that the use of reflection may be also of a paramount importance to William’s improvement of his literacy. In fact, reflecting targets at the constant revisiting the text or learning material the student learns or reads in the classroom. It proves beyond a doubt that William does not pay much attention to reflection on Science and Geography materials he learns in the classroom after classes. In such a situation, it will be necessary to change such an attitude to all the subjects and Science and Geography in particular. It means that the comprehension of the texts and learning materials on Science and Geography will be ineffective for William because of his problems with their understanding. In such a situation, if the boy manages to understand a text or learning material in the classroom he will easily forget it without revisiting. This is why he needs to revise what he learns even after the classes.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problems of William are obvious and quite serious but basically they are caused by certain gaps in his literacy. To put it more precisely, he lacks the understanding of specific terms which he cannot adequately perceive and interpret and which make him unwilling to keep working on learning materials. In such a situation, the strategies described above could be effectively applied to William’s learning since they contribute to the better comprehension of texts and learning materials and, what is even more important, they help develop essential skills of working with new texts and learning material that can facilitate their comprehension.

1. Ellis, David B. (1985). Becoming a Master Student, Rapid City: College Survival Inc.
2. Monro, Carla R. “Misbehavior or Misinterpretation?” Kappa Delta Pi Record, 42 no4 161-5 Summ 2006.
3. Parkays F.W. and G. Hass. Curriculum Planning, LA: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
4. Rebore Ronald W. Human Resources Administration in Education, LA: Allyn and Bacon, 2001.
5. Rosen, Sidney (ed.). My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson, M.D., New York: Touchstone, 1991.
6. Woodstock, Lewis. (1996). Reading techniques. New York: Routledge.


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