New pathways to literacy

Clockwise from front: Brodie Grant, Oscar Nielson, Daniel Matteo, Aron Smith Gemma Parsons, Michael Nicoli and Kelly Chen with their bicycles.
Clockwise from front: Brodie Grant, Oscar Nielson, Daniel Matteo, Aron Smith Gemma Parsons, Michael Nicoli and Kelly Chen with their bicycles.

Teacher Frank Camilleri set up the school’s Bike Club to boost student engagement through bicycle repair and maintenance, and said that after two years the club was enjoying success among both girls and boys.

‘I thought that it would be a good idea to give kids something that they would be really engaged with,’ he said.

‘Most of them like fiddling around with bikes, so that was the initial idea, and we thought we could tie some literacy into that.

‘The boys seemed to enjoy it, and this year girls joined the club too, and it’s seemed to have taken off from there.’

Students rescue discarded bikes, and then fit them according to the equipment they need, the latter supplied by George’s Bike Shop in Balcatta.

The store’s Gary O’Connor guides the students about what they need for the repairs.

Although the literacy component is in its early days, Mr Camilleri said he was encouraging reading skills through information relevant to the repairs and maintenance.

‘We’ve downloaded a whole lot of information about changing tyres and other things, which we’ve displayed for the students,’ he said.

‘And they’ve all been given a booklet this year which they can read, so they’re being exposed to the technical word.

‘When they get their bike, they have to see what’s wrong with it, and make a list of requirements for that bike.’

He added that giving students a more positive approach to school was an achievement in itself.

‘Engagement is such an important thing; if you can’t get kids engaged, then your chances of them learning are not as great,’ he said.