Literacy at Spearwood Primary School
At Spearwood Primary School, we believe that effective reading instruction is based on ‘The BIG 6’ :
- Oral Language.
- Phonemic awareness.
- Vocabulary knowledge.
Our structured reading program includes:
- Explicit teaching of phonological awareness and phonics.
- Rote learning of sight / high frequency words.
- Guided practice to improve fluency.
- Vocabulary development.
- Explicit teaching of comprehension questioning techniques (Literal, Inferential, Vocabulary, Evaluative).
Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression.
A whole school approach using ‘Reading Around, Writing About’ from years 1-6. This program includes a close alignment between reading and writing exercises and the texts have been carefully chosen to provide valuable models for students’ writing with engaging tasks used to elicit independent writing.
Spelling activities involve students blending and segmenting words. The Soundwaves Spelling Program is used across all year levels from 1 – 6. This program is based on the Synthetic Phonics approach which is recognised as one of the most effective ways to teach spelling and reading skills. This well scaffolded program allows for a consistent approach to spelling instruction across the school.
High frequency (Sight Words) words and a variety of phonetically based spelling words from previous lists are included in the literacy warm up each morning. Sight words are taught and spelt using the letter names. Phonetic words are sounded out during warm up activities.
Students are taught to use their grammatical knowledge and understandings in order to make appropriate choices in getting their message across in both written texts and in speaking and listening. An explicit, whole school approach to grammar has been adopted, using Jolly Grammar in years 1- 5 and DET learning sequences in year 6. Our students will develop essential knowledge and understandings of the functional use of grammar in Standard Australian English.
Vocabulary is one of the five major components of reading and is linked to academic success. Vocabulary instruction provides essential background knowledge for reading and writing. When students are taught words before they read them in a text, they have a better chance of comprehending what has been read. Vocabulary will be taught explicitly with the intention of improving comprehension and writing.
Confident and successful writers need to be able to select words appropriately and construct sentences effectively. Words and sentences are the “foundations and walls” of quality writing and the more opportunity children have to explore and try out new words or sentence constructions the greater the impact on their writing.
Teachers explore the specific language features and structures with their students during shared/modelled/guided sessions and children are encouraged to use and apply this learning in their independent writing. The links between the language features/structures being explored and the impact and effect they have on the writing, as well as upon the reader are made explicit to the students.
Teachers at Spearwood PS use First Steps writing strategies alongside DET learning sequences and other resources to model and teach effective writing. Going forward, staff will be using Brightpath for assessment of students and evaluation of teaching programs.
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