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OLC4O outline

Bright Future Academy

4433 Sheppard Avenue East, 2nd Floor, Room 202

Toronto, Ontario M1S 1V3

OLC4O – Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course, Grade 12


Course Title: Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course, Grade 12
Course Code: OLC4O
Grade: 12
Course Type: Open
Credit Value: 1
Prerequisite: Students who have been eligible to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) at least twice, and have been unsuccessful at least once, are eligible to take this course to achieve both a Grade 12 credit and their literacy credential for graduation.
Curriculum Policy Document: English, The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), Grades12, 2003

Text: Literacy Power OSSLC, Gage Learning Corporation © 2004.

ISBN: 0771520204   ISBN-13: 9780771520204
Course Developer: Maria Wolscht
Development Date: May 2013

Course Description:

This course is designed to help students acquire and demonstrate the cross-curricular literacy skills that are evaluated by the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. Students who complete the course successfully will meet the provincial literacy requirement for graduation. Students will read a variety of informational, narrative, and graphic texts and will produce a variety of forms of writing, including summaries, information paragraphs, opinion pieces, and news reports. Students will also maintain and manage a literacy portfolio containing a record of their reading experiences and samples of their writing.

Overall Expectations: OLC4O

Building Reading Skills

By the end of this course, students will:

read and demonstrate an understanding of a range of literary, graphical and informational texts; demonstrate an understanding of directly and indirectly stated information, and make personal connections based on reading; develop and utilize appropriate reading strategies to aid in the understanding of different texts.


Building Writing Skills

By the end of this course, students will:

use a range of print and electronic sources to gather information and explore ideas for written work; identify the literary and informational forms suited to various purposes and audiences and use the forms appropriately in their own writing, with an emphasis on adopting a suitable voice; use a variety of organizational techniques to present ideas and information logically and coherently in written work; revise their written work, independently and collaboratively, with a focus on support for ideas and opinions, accuracy, clarity, and coherence; edit and proofread to produce final drafts, using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, according to the conventions of standard Canadian English specified for this course, with the support of print and electronic resources when appropriate.


Understanding and Assessing Growth in Literacy

By the end of this course, students will:

set learning goals, monitor their improvement in literacy throughout the course, and confer with their teacher about their progress at regular intervals; maintain and manage a literacy portfolio containing their reading responses, pieces of writing, and a learning journal in which they record their goal-setting and self-monitoring activities during the course; review this portfolio, both during the course and at its end, in order to assess their growth in literacy.


Unit details:



Titles and Descriptions

Time and Sequence

Unit 1

Check Your Blind Spot

Unit One introduces students to the course and its content. Students will read samples of all three types of reading texts (narrative, informational, and graphic) and are formally introduced to the various styles of writing and reflecting activities they will develop throughout the course. Good drivers know that it is important to check their blind spot before pulling on to the open road; students are encouraged to determine their own “blind spots” through self-reflection and diagnostics activities before proceeding to later units. This metaphor of the open road serves as the basis for reading material in unit one and for the themes of upcoming units.

18 hours

Unit 2

Accelerated Reader Program

The first fifteen minutes of each class will be dedicated to personal reading. Students will choose from a variety books included in the Accelerated Reader program. Novels in this program are scored based on reading level, and each student will begin at a level determined by the Star Reader diagnostic test and in consultation with their instructor. Each student is to read a minimum of two personal novels.

18 hours

Unit 3

The Open Road

Students will read, write, and self-reflect based on individual interests articulated in unit 1. For example: If students are primarily interested in sports, cooking, and travel, reading materials and assignments will be tailored to suit their tastes. As students make their way to the “open road” it is important that they have time to read, write, and reflect on their interests and on how developing strong literacy skills will help them achieve long and short term goals related to those interests.

18 hours

Unit 4

Road Rages

The focus of this unit is on creating awareness of social issues around the world: How people and natural resources are targeted, represented and exploited. Students will also learn more about what people can and are doing to make a difference. Special emphasis will be placed on how our perceptions of the world are shaped and influenced by the media. Students will read a variety of narrative, informational, and graphic texts on student/teacher selected topics; they will write primarily news reports and opinion pieces in response to reading selections.

18 hours



Objects in Mirror are Closer than They Appear

In this unit, students are encouraged to consider strategies that will help them continue to hone and develop their reading and writing skills. This unit also explores future careers students may wish to explore as they near the end of their high school career and begin looking toward the future.

18 hours



Culminating: Portfolio, Reading Demonstrations, and Book Talk

Students will look back on the work they have accomplished throughout the semester and demonstrate, through their portfolio and final reflection, a series of reading tests, and a book talk (based on their AR reading) the skills they have developed during the semester.

18 hours


Final Evaluation

The final assessment task is a three hour proctored final exam worth 15% of the student's final mark in the course.

2 hours



110 hours


Teaching / Learning Strategies:

As in other courses, teachers will use their professional judgment to decide which instructional methods will be most effective in promoting the learning of core knowledge and skills described in the expectations. However, because students in this course will have significant gaps in their literacy skills, direct instruction, support, and practice are necessary for student success.

No single instructional approach can address all the curriculum expectations or meet all the needs of each learner. Teachers should therefore select instructional strategies and classroom activities that are based on an assessment of students’ needs, proven learning theory, and best practices. In this course, teachers should introduce a rich variety of activities that integrate reading and writing expectations and provide for the explicit teaching of knowledge and skills.

The ability to work both independently and collaboratively is important for success in the workplace and postsecondary education and is equally relevant in the context of family and community. It is therefore important for students to have opportunities to develop their language skills and knowledge in a variety of ways: individually and cooperatively; independently and with teacher direction; and through the study of examples followed by practice. Students must be able to demonstrate that they have acquired the specified knowledge and skills.

Building Confidence

Students taking this course may be doubtful that they can acquire the literacy skills they need to function effectively at school, at work, and in other everyday contexts. In seeking to meet the needs of these students, teachers should try to create a positive classroom environment that gives students the confidence to take risks as they learn and that continually encourages them to persist and improve.

To help students build confidence and to promote learning, teachers should use the approach of grouping students for purposes of instruction and support. Groupings should be flexible and should change as students’ literacy skills improve. Students may be grouped in a variety of ways, including the following:

• by instructional need (e.g., group students who need to practise a specific reading or writing strategy);

• by ability to read texts at a comparable level of challenge (e.g., select texts on the same topic but at different levels of difficulty, and group students to read the texts that are appropriate to their skills);

• by shared interest in particular topics or issues (e.g., group students to generate ideas as a team before they write on a topic of shared interest);

• for purposes of effective collaboration (e.g., group students who can provide support for one another as they learn).

Building on Oral Language Skills

An important way to build reading and writing skills is to recognize and build on the strengths in oral language, in English or a first language, that many students bring to the course.When students discuss their prior knowledge of a topic or type of text before they read, they build a foundation for understanding that gives them the confidence to read a variety of texts.

Similarly, the quality of students’ writing improves and they become more competent as writers when they talk about their ideas at all stages of the writing process (e.g., discuss writing topics before they write; read and share their works in progress; offer suggestions to other writers for revision and editing).

Oral language experiences in large and small groups also provide opportunities for students to clarify their thinking about what they have read and to share these understandings with others – to “make visible” the often invisible reading strategies they use to understand texts.

In addition, opportunities to use oral language help students to expand their vocabularies, thereby improving their fluency in reading and their ability to express themselves clearly and effectively in writing.

Developing Reading Skills

As they enter the course, students might not see themselves as readers, since many feel daunted by the complexities of the print texts they encounter in school. In reality,most students do read some types of texts regularly in their daily lives – for example,websites and e-mails.

Teachers should use such familiar types of texts as a starting point to introduce students to strategies and skills they can use to understand a greater variety of informational, narrative, and graphic texts and relate them to their own knowledge and experiences.

Students’ ability to read is greatly enhanced when they recognize a text as having authentic relevance to their interests and aspirations, in terms of the issues it raises and the information it

contains. Teachers should therefore include a balanced selection of text forms (informational, narrative, and graphic, in both print and electronic media) at different levels of challenge, and should include texts on a range of topics that concern and interest students (e.g., on personal, social, health and safety, and career and workplace issues).

Developing Writing Skills

Students see themselves as writers when they have choices about the topics and purposes for writing, when they go through the process of generating and organizing ideas and information

and conferring with others about ideas and style, and when they become accustomed to consulting

resources such as grammar guides and dictionaries to help them revise, edit, and polish

their writing.

Although the OSSLC requires students to produce writing on demand, developing assigned

topics and using specified forms, it also provides scope for students to go beyond the specifications

of the OSSLT. Teachers should use the relative flexibility this course offers to provide

regular and frequent opportunities for students to practice writing primarily but not exclusively

in the identified forms, on a range of self-selected topics, and for a variety of purposes.

Integrating Reading and Writing Skills

Reading and writing skills are complementary and mutually reinforcing. For this reason, many

of the expectations in the Reading strand require students to demonstrate their learning through

activities that also involve writing. Similarly, many of the expectations in the Writing strand

require students to demonstrate their learning through activities that also involve reading.

Teachers need to support and enhance these connections by introducing a rich variety of

classroom activities that integrate reading and writing and that provide opportunities for students to develop and practise these skills in conjunction with one another.

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies of Student Performance:

Assessment is the process of gathering information that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a subject or course. The primary purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. Assessment for the purpose of improving student learning is seen as both “assessment for learning” and “assessment as learning”. As part of assessment for learning, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback and coaching for improvement. Teachers engage in assessment as learning by helping all students develop their capacity to be independent, autonomous learners who are able to set individual goals, monitor their own progress, determine next steps, and reflect on their thinking and learning.


Teachers will obtain assessment information through a variety of means, which may include formal and informal observations, discussions, learning conversations, questioning, conferences, homework, tasks done in groups, demonstrations, projects, portfolios, developmental continua, performances, peer and self-assessments, self-reflections, essays, and tests.


As essential steps in assessment for learning and as learning, teachers need to:

• plan assessment concurrently and integrate it seamlessly with instruction;

• share learning goals and success criteria with students at the outset of learning to ensure that students and teachers have a common and shared understanding of these goals and criteria as learning progresses;

• gather information about student learning before, during, and at or near the end of a period of instruction, using a variety of assessment strategies and tools;

• use assessment to inform instruction, guide next steps, and help students monitor their progress towards achieving their learning goals;

• analyse and interpret evidence of learning;

• give and receive specific and timely descriptive feedback about student learning;

• help students to develop skills of peer and self-assessment.


Teachers will also ensure that they assess students’ development of learning skills and work habits, using the assessment approaches described above to gather information and provide feedback to students.

The Final Grade:

The evaluation for this course is based on the student's achievement of curriculum expectations and the demonstrated skills required for effective learning. The percentage grade represents the quality of the student's overall achievement of the expectations for the course and reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline. A credit is granted and recorded for this course if the student's grade is 50% or higher. The final grade for this course will be determined as follows:

  • 70% of the grade will be based upon evaluations and assessments of learning conducted throughout the course. This portion of the grade will reflect the student's most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration will be given to more recent evidence of achievement. All assessments of learning will be based on evaluations developed from the four categories of the Achievement Chart for the course.


  • 30% of the grade will be based on a final evaluation administered at the end of the course and may be comprised of one or more strategies including tests and projects.. This final evaluation will be based on an evaluation developed from all four categories of the Achievement Chart for the course and of expectations from all units of the course. The weighting of the four categories of the Achievement Chart for the entire course including the final evaluation will be as follows.


Knowledge & Understanding

Thinking, Inquiry & Problem Solving









Assessment of Learning through the course:

Unit tests 40% + Assignments/Projects 30% = 70 %

Final Evaluation:

Final examination 15% + final assignment/project 15% = 30%


The more details about evaluation are presented below:

Units of the course will encourage students' success in reading and writing. Students will have the opportunity to be assessed on an on-going basis throughout the course using a variety of assessment strategies.


Reading: By the end of the course, students will independently demonstrate, for evaluation, their understanding of a minimum of:

 2 narrative texts

 4 graphic texts

 5 informational texts


Writing: By the end of the course, students will independently demonstrate, for evaluation, their writing skills by producing a minimum of:

 1 summary

 1 information paragraph

 2 series of paragraphs expressing opinion

 2 news reports


Literacy Portfolio: Students will maintain a Literacy Portfolio throughout the course that contains inventories of texts read and writing produced, reading and writing tasks in progress, reading and writing tasks evaluated, and works for presentation and display. The portfolio also includes a learning journal that students use to set and review goals for improvement in their reading and writing skills, monitor their progress, and assess their growth in literacy.



The Report Card:

The report card will focus on two distinct but related aspects of student achievement; the achievement of curriculum expectations and the development of learning skills. The report card will contain separate sections for the reporting of these two aspects.

A Summary Description of Achievement in Each Percentage Grade Range
and Corresponding Level of Achievement

Percentage Grade Range

Achievement Level

Summary Description


Level 4

A very high to outstanding level of achievement. Achievement is above the provincial standard.


Level 3

A high level of achievement. Achievement is at the provincial standard.


Level 2

A moderate level of achievement. Achievement is below, but approaching, the provincial standard.


Level 1

A passable level of achievement. Achievement is below the provincial standard.

below 50%

Level R

Insufficient achievement of curriculum expectations. A credit will not be granted.

Program Planning Considerations for English:

Teachers who are planning a program in English must take into account considerations in a number of important areas. The areas of concern to all teacher include the following:

  • The Role of Technology in the Curriculum
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Literacy Development (ELD)
  • Antidiscrimination Education in the English Program
  • Literacy, Numeracy, and Inquiry/Research Skills

Considerations relating to the areas listed above that have particular relevance for program planning in English are noted here.

The Role of Technology in the Curriculum. Information and communications technologies (ICT) provide a range of tools that can significantly extend and enrich teachers' instructional strategies and support students' language learning. ICT tools include multimedia resources, databases, Internet websites, digital cameras, and word-processing programs. Tools such as these can help students to collect, organize, and sort the data they gather and to write, edit, and present reports on their findings. Information and communications technologies can also be used to connect students to other schools, at home and abroad, and to bring the global community into the virtual classroom. Although the Internet is a powerful learning tool, there are potential risks attached to its use. All students must be made aware of issues of Internet privacy, safety, and responsible use, as well as of the potential for abuse of this technology, particularly when it is used to promote hatred. Information technology is considered a learning tool that must be accessed by English students when the situation is appropriate. As a result, students will develop transferable skills through their experience with word processing, internet research, presentation software, and telecommunication tools, as would be expected in any business environment.

English As a Second Language and English Literacy Development (ESL/ELD). With exposure to the English language in a supportive learning environment, most young children will develop oral fluency quite quickly, making connections between concepts and skills acquired in their first language and similar concepts and skills presented in English. However, oral fluency is not a good indicator of a student's knowledge of vocabulary or sentence structure, reading comprehension, or other aspects of language proficiency that play an important role in literacy development and academic success. Research has shown that it takes five to seven years for most English language learners to catch up to their English-speaking peers in their ability to use English for academic purposes. Moreover, the older the children are when they arrive, the greater the language knowledge and skills that they have to catch up on, and the more direct support they require from their teachers. Responsibility for students' English-language development is shared by the course teacher, the ESL/ELD teacher (where available), and other school staff. Volunteers and peers may also be helpful in supporting English language learners in the language classroom. Teachers must adapt the instructional program in order to facilitate the success of these students in their classrooms. Appropriate adaptations include:

  1. modification of some or all of the subject expectations so that they are challenging but attainable for the learner at his or her present level of English proficiency, given the necessary support from the teacher;
  2. use of a variety of instructional strategies (e.g., extensive use of visual cues, graphic organizers, scaffolding; previewing of textbooks, pre-teaching of key vocabulary; peer tutoring; strategic use of students' first languages);
  3. use of a variety of learning resources (e.g., visual material, simplified text, bilingual dictionaries, and materials that reflect cultural diversity);
  4. use of assessment accommodations (e.g., granting of extra time; use of oral interviews, demonstrations or visual representations, or tasks requiring completion of graphic organizers or cloze sentences instead of essay questions and other assessment tasks that depend heavily on proficiency in English).

Note: When learning expectations in any course are modified for an English language learner (whether the student is enrolled in an ESL or ELD course or not), this information must be clearly indicated on the student's report card.

This English course can provide a wide range of options to address the needs of ESL/ELD students. Detailed analysis of the parts of speech, vocabulary and sentence, paragraph and essay structure will help ESL students in mastering the English language and all of its idiosyncrasies. In addition, since all occupations require employees with a wide range of English skills and abilities, many students will learn how their backgrounds and language skills can contribute to their success in the larger world.

Antidiscrimination Education in the English Program. Learning resources that reflect the broad range of students' interests, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are an important aspect of an inclusive English program. In such a program, learning materials involve protagonists of both sexes from a wide variety of backgrounds. Teachers routinely use materials that reflect the diversity of Canadian and world cultures, including those of contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples, and make them available to students. Short stories, novels, magazine and newspaper articles, television programs, and films provide opportunities for students to explore issues relating to their self-identity. In inclusive programs, students are made aware of the historical, cultural, and political contexts for both the traditional and non-traditional gender and social roles represented in the materials they are studying. Stories, novels, informational texts, and media works relating to the immigrant experience provide rich thematic material for study, as well as the opportunity for students new to Canada to share their knowledge and experiences with others. In addition, in the context of the English program, both students and teachers should become aware of aspects of intercultural communication – for example, by exploring how different cultures interpret the use of eye contact and body language in conversation and during presentations. Resources should be chosen not only to reflect diversity but also on the basis of their appeal for both girls and boys in the classroom. Recent research has shown that many boys are interested in informational materials, such as manuals and graphic texts, as opposed to works of fiction, which are often more appealing to girls. Both sexes read Internet materials, such as website articles, e-mail, and chat messages, outside the classroom. The development of critical thinking skills is integral to the English curriculum. In the context of what is now called "critical literacy", these skills include the ability to identify perspectives, values, and issues; detect bias; and read for implicit as well as overt meaning. In the English program, students develop the ability to detect negative bias and stereotypes in literary texts and informational materials. When using biased informational texts, or literary works containing negative stereotypes, for the express purpose of critical analysis, teachers must take into account the potential negative impact of bias on students and use appropriate strategies to address students' responses. Critical literacy also involves asking questions and challenging the status quo, and leads students to look at issues of power and justice in society. The program empowers students by enabling them to express themselves and to speak out about issues that strongly affect them. Literature studies and media studies also afford both students and teachers a unique opportunity to explore the social and emotional impact of bullying, violence, and discrimination in the form of racism, sexism, or homophobia on individuals and families.

Literacy Mathematical literacy, and Inquiry, Research Skills. Literacy, mathematical literacy, and inquiry/research skills are critical to students' success in all subjects of the curriculum and in all areas of their lives. The acquisition and development of literacy skills is clearly the focus of the English curriculum, but the English program also builds on, reinforces, and enhances mathematical literacy. For example, clear, concise communication often involves the use of diagrams, charts, tables, and graphs, and the English curriculum emphasizes students' ability to interpret and use graphic texts. Inquiry is at the heart of learning in all subject areas. In English courses, students are encouraged to develop their ability to ask questions and to explore a variety of possible answers to those questions. As they advance through the grades, they acquire the skills to locate relevant information from a variety of sources, such as books, newspapers, dictionaries, encyclopedias, interviews, videos, and the Internet. The questioning they practiced in the early grades becomes more sophisticated as they learn that all sources of information have a particular point of view and that the recipient of the information has a responsibility to evaluate it, determine its validity and relevance, and use it in appropriate ways. The ability to locate, question, and validate information allows a student to become an independent, lifelong learner.



Literacy Power OSSLC, Gage Learning Corporation © 2004.

ISBN: 0771520204   ISBN-13: 9780771520204

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