At Glen Katherine, English is recognised as being an integral part of daily life. We aim to develop children’s skills in thinking, speaking and listening, reading and writing. These skills are integrated into all areas of the curriculum.
Typically a literacy session across the school begins with a whole class focus, where the teacher may model reading or writing skills. The children may then work in small groups or independently, practising or consolidating skills which are aimed at their own level of understanding. The literacy session concludes with a share time where children have an opportunity to verbalise their learning.
Links between reading, writing and speaking and listening are an intricate part of the literacy program. Children are given daily opportunities to develop a variety of speaking and listening skills; articulation, organising thoughts, public speaking and using a confident voice.
Students are exposed to a variety of texts during literacy sessions which develop children’s literacy skills such as comprehension, reading strategies and reading fluency. In addition, library sessions and ‘take home’ reading material supports the development of these skills as well as fosters confidence and enjoyment of reading.
The Early Years Literacy Program (Prep to Grade 4)
The Early Years Program is a strategic and comprehensive approach to teaching English. During literacy sessions at Glen Katherine, the students work in small groups of like abilities where texts and activities are strategically matched to the students’ individual learning needs. Due to the rapid nature of learning in these formative years, the program incorporates frequent monitoring and assessment of children’s progress and the teaching focus changes accordingly.
Writing sessions in Prep to Grade 4 are aimed at developing children’s knowledge and purpose of writing. Via structured and explicit teaching children begin to understand the process of developing their ideas into a published piece. Simultaneously the foundations of word knowledge, spelling, grammar and handwriting are laid. Whole class, individual and small group activities covering such things as phonics, phonemes and simple spelling and grammar rules are developed to meet individual learning needs.
At Glen Katherine parent participation is seen as an integral and valuable component of the Early Years Program, where with the guidance of the teachers, parents are given the chance to work with small groups or individual children reinforcing concepts and guiding their learning.
Literacy in Prep
The Middle Years (Grade 5-6)
During literacy sessions in the middle school, students continue to work in groups or independently covering a variety of text types, both fiction and non-fiction. There is a greater use of current texts, including internet and newspaper articles. A greater emphasis is placed on developing children’s understanding of text at a deeper level through higher order questioning and greater vocabulary development.
Expectations of ‘home reading’ continue with the focus being on comprehension and continued practise in fluency and expressive reading. Children are expected to read a variety of familiar and unfamiliar texts, genres and familiar and unfamiliar authors.
Writing in the middle years is taught through a whole class focus, addressing components of the process of writing; developing ideas, planning, drafting and revising. Writing sessions also address the editing component where the focus is on vocabulary development, spelling rules and grammar. Middle School students have increased ownership over their writing in every facet from developing the idea to the final stages of revising, editing and publishing. Children continue to work in small groups where they may be of like or mixed ability.
Additional Literacy Assistance Program
‘Boost’ is an intervention program designed for children who are at risk in their literacy learning. These small group sessions take place two to four times per week. Groups are commonly made up of around 5 students who have similar abilities, similar needs and have been identified through ongoing teacher assessments.
The home-school partnership is vital to the success of Boost. Children with lots of support and encouragement from home consistently achieve better results. There may be a small amount of follow up work sent home from time to time with each child, designed to consolidate the understandings being developed at school.
Be sure to regularly visit your child's grade level blog for updates on current literacy learning at GK.