In P-2, we instil a love of reading within our early years learners as they develop foundational skills and understandings of language and literacy.
We focus on the ‘Foundations for Reading’ to equip children with the skills for future reading success:
The ‘Foundations for Reading’ are taught through consistent practices across our junior school in a range of instruction settings. Students are explicitly taught strategies and concepts in whole class sessions and build and refine their skills in targeted small group sessions and individual conferences. In daily opportunities to engage with a vast array of texts, students develop a holistic set of understandings and skills.
We continue to foster a love of reading within our students as they build greater levels of independence and autonomy. In Years 3-6, students actively engage with a diverse range of spoken, written and multimodal texts designed for a range of purposes. We build capability within our students so that they deeply understand, critically analyse and describe the impact of written, visual, print and non-print texts. By connecting students to literature relevant to their world, students are supported to become insightful thinkers and effective critical readers, able to apply their skills and knowledge in their daily lives.
In the teaching of writing, we appreciate the works of great authors as students develop skills to create pieces of their own. Through exploring various modes of writing, students build early understandings of writing as a communication form. Students establish the link between spoken language and its representation in print, as letters, words and sentences. So that students write correctly and efficiently, we prioritise the development of good habits in letter formation. In these beginning writing stages, we celebrate all new learning and attempts to write, to inspire our students to share their thoughts and ideas with others. These foundational understandings develop over time, as students become proficient in recording clear, structured ideas on a page.
In our classrooms, students are explicitly taught writing skills, practise and refine them with support and build independence on their own. Students work on individual goals in small group and individual writing conferences to assist their learning growth.
As our students build greater proficiency in Years 3-6, they engage in learning experiences that are meaningful and authentic. To incite their interests, students investigate the range of purposes and audiences for which we may write. We expose our students to high quality texts to provide them with models they can first enjoy and be captivated by, but also emulate when crafting their own pieces. These exemplar texts contain rich language, supporting students to build a wide vocabulary. Through analysing these high-quality texts, students observe the power of a carefully selected word, sentence length or phrase. Students replicate these elements when crafting their own pieces to develop a wide range of writing skills.
In the English language, the spelling of a given word relates to sound (phonology), meaning (morphology), word origin (etymology), and structure (orthography). We teach a repertoire of strategies so that children have a comprehensive understanding of how sound, visual, meaning, connecting and checking strategies may support them when spelling words.
Across our school, THRASS (Teaching Handwriting, Reading And Spelling Skills) is used as a phonetic teaching tool to support literacy learning. This system guides students to understand and explore the way sounds of the English language are represented in print. From Prep, students establish a secure linkage between the letters and sounds of our language. With every year of schooling, students build upon this knowledge and extend their skills as they engage with words. The use of a common language and consistent teaching tool strengthens students’ understanding of this link between sound and print. This foundation ensures that students are well placed to succeed in future years, as they encounter more complex vocabulary and sophisticated ways to investigate language.
To ensure that all learners are adequately supported to thrive, we offer a Literacy Intervention Program. The program provides supplementary support for students who find reading and writing difficult. Our Literacy Intervention Teachers are highly trained in the early detection of reading difficulties and approaches to support those who require further instruction. Literacy Intervention Teachers provide skilful reading instruction in intensive small group settings, in addition to the classroom program. Literacy Intervention can change the path of a child’s journey into literacy, by providing them with the essential skills and confidence to succeed.
At Yarraville West Primary school, our school-wide approaches are informed by evidence-based research and guided by our Literacy Coaches. We are fortunate to have two Literacy Coaches who are committed to working with teachers and students to enhance classroom learning, as they oversee the provision of our school’s Literacy curriculum. Our consistent approach to professional learning and planning ensures that collectively we are responsible for the needs of every learner within our school. Cohort-based teaching teams and Literacy Coaches regularly collaborate to plan, monitor, and evaluate learning programs so that we best cater for the needs of our students and support them to flourish.