Ontario secondary school literacy test


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Suggestions for Encouraging Reading and Writing at Home

  • Praise and encourage any kind of reading that captures your son or daughter’s interest. Share your own interests in various authors and forms of reading.

  • Subscribe to newspapers and magazines to encourage the reading of non-fiction materials. Encourage visits to the public library where a wide range of fiction and non-fiction reading materials are available, including books on hobbies and collecting, travel and adventure, history and biography, fashion and etiquette, astronomy and space.

  • Give the gift of reading by purchasing novels, magazines, or bookstore gift certificates. Plan family outings to bookstores.

  • Establish a daily reading time for all members of the family, or designate one evening per week as reading night instead of watching television. Ask your teenager to read to a younger sibling once or twice per week. Play books on tape on family trips. Ten to fifteen minutes a day of reading can make a difference.

  • Share your enthusiasm for reading by discussing books and articles with your son or daughter. Ask them:

  • What do you think about that book/article?

  • What did you enjoy/dislike about it?

  • Do you agree with the point of view or message?

  • Why would you recommend/not recommend it?

  • Together watch a video based on a book. Discuss similarities and differences between the book and the video. Consider whether the characters, settings, and events were as you had both imagined them.

  • Encourage activities which require following written instructions, e.g., cooking, woodworking, car maintenance.

  • Discuss school-related reading with your teenager. Read parts of the textbook along with him or her, pointing out how pictures and graphics support the words.

  • Correspond via e-mail with your son or daughter, sending them special messages or suggestions, or asking their input on various topics such as vacation plans, birthday menus, or family events.

  • Provide opportunities for your son or daughter to keep family journals (of trips or special events), label photographs with funny captions, write instructions for siblings on how to do laundry or cook pizza, or record family history and stories from older relatives.

  • Encourage the writing of lists, letters, thank you notes, journals, diaries, nature logs (birds and animals sighted), song lyrics, poetry, stories, and memoirs.


XYZ Secondary School Newsletter to Parents

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test




In March, all Grade 10 students in the province of Ontario will write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test mandated by the Ministry of Education. This test will be based on the reading and writing skills that are common to all subject areas in the curriculum up to the end of Grade 9.

The purpose of the test is to provide reliable and accurate information about student achievement of the literacy curriculum expectations from

Grades 1-9. Students must earn the literacy credential in order to receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

The test will be graded on a pass or fail basis only. Those students who do not complete this requirement will be given clear and objective feedback regarding their performance so that they and their teachers can set goals for improvement.
Students who are not successful on the test will be given another opportunity after they have received further instruction and assistance with their literacy skills.
Students with special learning needs will be allowed certain typical adjustments such as extra time, as consistent with their IEP.
It is important to stress that this is NOT an English test. The test will measure reading and writing skills required in all subject areas across the curriculum.

At XYZ Secondary School, we are doing our best to help your son or daughter to be successful on the OSSLT.

Here are some of the plans for activities at our school:

  • A Student Success committee of staff members is identifying students at risk in literacy and providing additional support at lunch time and after school.

  • All departments are committed to supporting student success and are providing literacy instruction and direct instruction in OSSLT tasks in their subjects.

  • An assembly will be held to inform students about the test and to stress its importance to their high school career. They will also be told of the supports being provided by the school.

  • Reading and writing will be encouraged through book displays, posters, and contests.

  • We will be implementing a “skill of the month” program. Each month the entire staff will emphasize one particular literacy skill or task that will benefit students on the test.

  • Students will have an opportunity to use the OSSLT practice tasks in all classes and will become familiar with the format and language of the test.


A Letter to Parents


Dear Parent(s):


This year, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test will be written in March and it is our hope that all parents will encourage their son or daughter to read and write widely and enthusiastically at home to prepare for this important test.
Your praise and example can make a difference. Please encourage any form of reading that captures your son or daughter’s interest.

Magazines, newspapers, and instructional manuals are all important ways for students to practice their reading skills. Letters, e-mail, family vacation journals or nature diaries are ways to consolidate writing skills. Encourage the use of public libraries, and make trips to bookstores a family outing. Ensure that all reading homework and written assignments are completed with care and diligence.

Many teens indicate that they like to read magazines outside of school: consider subscribing to a newspaper or magazine that your son or daughter enjoys reading. Many of the reading selections on the literacy test are non-fiction and reading informational text is an important skill in all subject areas.
Finally, if your daughter or son is in Grade 10, please ensure that he or she is motivated and well rested before taking the test.
We look forward to working with you to support your son or daughter in developing and demonstrating these valuable literacy skills.

Yours very truly,

A. Principal

XYZ Secondary School

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