‘Readers are Leaders’
Author, John Maxwell
Dear Parents and Carers,
As literacy skills are central to all schooling, the ability to read, comprehend and respond to written tasks is essential for both student confidence and individual learning growth. During my recent interviews with prospective ERC students for 2023 and beyond, a common question that I asked the student was whether he read books for fun and enjoyment. The response to my question was often met with a nervous grin from the boy and a knowing look from the parent. When an increasing number of young people need to reflect on the health of their relationship with technology, I think it is incumbent on both educators and parents to counter the research that suggests boys are often generally less positive about reading than girls.
Under the leadership of Ms Francesca Gazzola, the English department is making great strides in developing students’ confidence and interest in their reading. Recently, one of our English Teachers, Mr Max Booyar-Rybak, presented at the English Teachers Association Conference sharing his journey of actionable strategies that bring a love and passion for reading back into the classroom – even for reluctant readers. I also acknowledge another English Teacher, Mrs Carmen Russell, who facilitates the Book Club – A Novel Idea! where students meet once a week after school to share and discuss a book they are reading.
However, it is not only the responsibility of English teachers to develop, challenge and affirm student literacy skills. Teachers in every subject area employ a range of strategies to engage boys’ in their use of written text. While there are those students who are gifted and talented in their advanced ability to read and write, there are also those students that require specific and targeted reading intervention programs such as MaqLit to support them on their journey. By developing consistent reading habits, all students will have the potential to increase further their engagement and ability to work independently across the curriculum.
At the same time, parents and carers also need to play their part. It has often been suggested that the best teachers teach through example because regardless of what we say, young people will always look to what we do. A boy will follow the lead of his role models and the significant adults in his life. If that role model values reading, the boy will also. Parents are encouraged to model reading and talk with their sons about what types of books they enjoy reading and, in this way, further enhance our Catholic learning community.
Last Sunday, 5 June we celebrated the Feast of the Pentecost, the birthday of the church and it comes at the end of Reconciliation Week. Like those early disciples, who were each filled with the Holy Spirit we are each called to put our own gifts to use and spread the Good News with love in contributing to a more inclusive community for all. Our College continues to enact our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) through the Narragunnawali platform and we look forward to officially launching this during NAIDOC week next Term.
Last Friday evening, the ‘Op Shop Ball’ held for the senior students of St Mary Star of the Sea College and ERC was a great success, and I thank the many pastoral teachers who actively supported this event. Earlier this week, Mr Walsh and I had a very productive meeting with Mr Tony Fitzgerald and Ms Samantha Giles, the respective Principal and Deputy Principal from St Mary Star of the Sea College. The four of us discussed the current student activities that various year groups between our two great schools participate in and new potential opportunities for the students to join in. I am very aware of the many parents that ERC and St Mary’s share.
I look forward to working with Mr Fitzgerald to ensure our students engage in meaningful joint opportunities, including debating, public speaking, music, and sharing a common understanding of responsible relationships.
On behalf of our very active and supportive P&F, I invite all parents and carers to consider attending the ERC 2022 Gala Dinner, held at The Fraternity Club, Fairy Meadow, on Saturday, 20th August. Details are further in this newsletter.