Somerville Rise Primary School uses evidenced based strategies to provide authentic reading and writing tasks integrated into the units of inquiry (Learning Through Language). The English curriculum is organised into Reading and Viewing, Writing, and Speaking and Listening and is studied through the strands of Language, Literature and Literacy. Children are immersed in and surrounded by language. The premise that language permeates all aspects of curriculum and programs naturally is essential to our program. An approach is followed which allows for the integration of each main aspect of language – listening, speaking, reading and writing. English is closely linked to units of inquiry to provide purpose through connection in the development of literacy, love of literature and language. Our teaching is centred integrating students’ interest in reading and writing activities. This starts in Foundation with our Little Explorers Program where students are immersed in hands on experiences that lead to opportunities to share ideas orally, through writing and reading. In 2018 we implemented the Reader’s Workshop, evidence-based strategies to improving reading that engage students in books based on interests. Each student has a weekly conference time with their teacher where shared learning goals are made and focused on. During writing, the students are involved in modelled, shared, guided, interactive and independent writing. All teaching staff are currently undertaking explicit training in writing Students receive individual, whole group and small focus group assistance depending on their learning goals.
Reading and Viewing Reading refers to all the ways of constructing meaning from texts. This includes reading printed texts such as books, magazines, posters and charts and viewing multimodal texts such as films, videos, computers and graphic material. Reading is taught using strategies which put text into a meaningful and purposeful context and enable children to decode words. Some activities in the classroom include the following – modelled reading, book studies, author studies and small focus groups read and discuss texts with a particular focus and/or reading level, teachers also conduct reading conferences with all students over each week, focusing on student reading goals. All children are encouraged to develop their curiosity and love of literature. Children are expected to read or be read to at home each night. In Foundation to Year 2 home reading books are organised into broad-banded levels. Children need to read at their appropriate level to ensure confidence, enthusiasm and comprehension. Children are supported to read and seek out books of their own choice. A variety of books are provided by the school. Children are also encouraged to read their own books from home, and able to borrow regularly from the school library.
Writing and Spelling: Somerville Rise Primary School offers a broad range of writing experiences introducing a range of text types. Wherever possible, natural links are made with the unit of inquiry to enable greater authenticity and purpose for their writing.
Some examples include:
● Recounting events and experiences
● Writing invitations, letters, notices, book reports and plays
● Writing poetry in different forms
● Information reports
● Exposition and persuasive writing
● Narrative writing
● Taking notes when listening or reading
● Compiling personal spelling lists
● Identifying parts of speech to improve sentence construction
● Brainstorming and compiling word lists around themes
The writing program is structured in such a way that it builds on and is closely linked to the oral language and reading programs. Authentic purposes for writing are linked with units of inquiry.
The learning of spelling is a developmental process. Spelling is explicitly taught using a variety of strategies based upon Soundwaves. It is a system for teaching learners of any age about the building blocks of reading and spelling, that is, the 44 phonemes (speech sounds) of spoken English and the graphemes (spelling choices) of written English. Spelling strategies are taught in groups or class lessons. Teachers use techniques and strategies to assist children to make correct choices of letter patterns. As the children progress, they develop visual strategies to complement their phonological knowledge. It is important that spelling is linked to writing for the students to apply their spelling skills in context. We help children develop and use a range of strategies for proofreading and self-correction. We encourage children to become confident and competent writers with an interest in words and a desire to spell.
Speaking and Listening Speaking and listening skills are fundamental to the development of communication. Children are explicitly taught active listening skills and are given many opportunities to develop their oral language with a variety of audiences. Examples of activities to develop speaking and listening skills in the classroom include:
● Participating in sharing time
● Following directions/giving directions
● Listening to guest speakers/stories/directions
● Undertaking interviews
● Participating in discussions/debates/interviews
● Interacting with others in a variety of situations to develop and present familiar ideas, events and information
● Rehearsing, drafting and delivering formal presentations
● Presenting items at assembly