White Rock Elementary 23-24



At White Rock Elementary, we recognize the important interconnectedness between academic success and social-emotional well-being. We know that for students to be calm and ready to learn, they must have a solid foundation in Social-Emotional Learning.  For that reason, Social-Emotional Learning will continue to be at the heart of the work we do with our learners and within our school community. 

This year we are shifting the focus of our Student Learning Plan from SEL to literacy. As defined by the Ministry of Education, literacy encompasses the multifaceted ability to comprehend, critically evaluate, and generate various modes of communication, including oral, written, visual, digital, and multimedia formats, to achieve one's goals. With these skills, learners are able to apply essential reading, writing, speaking, and listening proficiencies across different subject domains.  Literacy skills serve as the foundation of lifelong learning, empowering learners to continuously engage with information, think critically, and express themselves effectively in various contexts, thereby fostering ongoing personal and intellectual growth.

Examples of our learners engaged in literacy activities are highlighted below:

Our learners can use developmentally appropriate reading, listening and viewing strategies to make meaning

Good readers use explicitly taught reading strategies, such as visualization to build pictures in their mind of what they are reading.   This helps learners have a deeper understanding of the text and have better recall.

Our learners can engage actively as listeners, viewers, and readers

Noisy reading

Reading Link Challenge

Students in grades 4 and 5 have been excited to be a part of the Reading Link Challenge.  This is a fun way to engage students outside of class time to build on their reading skills and to encourage and foster a love of reading.

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read)

Twice a year we gather in the gym for Drop Everything and Read.

Our learners can plan and create a variety of communication forms for different purposes and audiences

Students in one of our primary Fine Arts classrooms took a deep dive into the Science of Blue, creating the story of its origin in their own words, and a dramatic, musical production to share this learning. They further infused this learning into their dance and art, by choreographing a dance called Sakura and dyeing their dance scarves blue, using the Japanese dyeing technique, Arashi Shibori. They wrapped their cloth in found objects, PVC piping, and rocks, then dyed their wrapped cloth blue in a large dye pot over several days.  Doing this meant reading for information, as they followed detailed directions, then writing about their own processes and outcomes. Integration of their academic learning into their fine arts learning deepened their understanding in all subject areas, giving them the language to share this information with others in their own way.


This year we have shifted the focus of our Student Learning Plan from Social Emotional Learning to Literacy. SEL will continue to be implemented, as it is a foundation upon which learning can happen.    

Literacy skills are the foundation upon which children not only learn the lifelong skills of reading and writing, but also, life skills that enable them to make sense of their world, build essential critical thinking skills, and effectively communicate with others.  Throughout the school day, our learners are engaged in many different rich literacy activities in all subject areas, which reinforce the importance of learning to read. In some classrooms, students could be exploring non-fiction picture books to learn about a topic, engaging in a student-led literature circle discussion about a text or expressing the words of poetry, songs, and stories through drama and movement, showing that there are many ways to develop literacy skills.  Integration of literacy across disciplines not only enriches the understanding but also reinforces the importance of developing reading abilities.

This year we have monitored the literacy journey in a cohort of early learners in two Kindergarten classrooms.  This cohort reflects a diverse range of students that are representative of our school population.  These learners have been building pre-reading skills, which are basic building blocks for learning to read. 

Phonemic awareness is a part of phonological awareness that involves being able to hear and recognize sounds in words. This is a critical component of early reading success and can have a profound impact on a child’s literacy development. The building of phonemic awareness skills in a child’s early years is directly related to reading fluency and a student’s ability to decode text, as well as the skill of understanding and making sense of the words on the page.

Skills involved in phonemic awareness include segmenting, blending, and syllabication. The work with our first cohort of students has focused on developing these skills through specific phonics instruction, group activities and engaging, play-based activities, which all allow for repetition and review and which benefit our more vulnerable learners.

In January our Kindergarten teachers administered the ELPATS (Early Literacy Phonemic Awareness Tool), a district-based oral assessment of phonemic awareness, which helps teachers monitor students’ acquisition.  The information gathered through this assessment provided opportunity to guide instruction based on the needs.  Then in May, the teachers completed the ELPATS again to measure the students' progress.


Evidence of our students' learning demonstrates that our literacy focus is having a positive impact on our early learners.

This data compares the data collected from the May 2024 ELPATS (Early Literacy Phonemic Awareness Tool) to the data collected in January.

These tables compare the May 2024 ELPAT data (from one of those kindergarten classrooms) with May 2023.  We attribute part of this growth to a shift in practise resulting in a change of routines in that classroom  (including the use of the UFLI phonics resource).

Moving Forward

Based on evidence of students' progress in relation to our learning goals, our next steps will include:

  • Continuing to support the science of reading and actively using strategies to build phonemic awareness in primary classrooms
  • Participating in the District Responding to Readers project 2024/2025
  • Providing opportunities for families to learn about the importance of reading at home
  • Exploring opportunities to build capacity in teachers (for example, through Lunch & Learns with our District Helping Teachers)

Surrey Schools

Formed in 1906, the Surrey School District currently has the largest student enrolment in British Columbia and is one of the few growing districts in the province. It is governed by a publicly elected board of seven trustees.

The district serves the cities of Surrey and White Rock and the rural area of Barnston Island.

Surrey Schools
14033 - 92 Avenue Surrey,
British Columbia V3V 0B7