ENGLISH PROGRAM – READING, WRITING , SPEAKING & LISTENING
Our Strategic Plan clearly identifies the importance of, and our commitment to, developing the Literacy skills of all our students. The English curriculum specifically identifies required skills in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The learning/ teaching in these areas are interrelated and do not occur in isolation.
Years Prep to 4 – Laying the foundations
When children enter our school, they bring a wide range of prior experiences with language in verbal, visual and written forms. The diversity of their social, cultural and linguistic experiences means that they arrive at Findon with different starting points. In these years students develop foundational skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Oral language plays a key role in learning to read and write. At this stage, learning to read and use written language effectively is crucial; the development of strong literacy skills in these years provides the basis for future success in learning. Students learn to use appropriate language, both formal and informal, in the new contexts of school and classroom. They ask and respond to questions, and participate in discussions in the classroom, learning how to take turns and listen to others.
In the first years at school students learn how sounds in English are represented alphabetically. They use their background knowledge and vocabulary knowledge in reading to obtain meaning from print. They practise reading different kinds of texts to achieve fluency. They progressively gain control over strategies for comprehension and repairing misunderstandings. With teacher and parental support they develop personal interest in reading, and the motivation to read for a variety of purposes. They develop an appreciation of the ways reading, writing, speaking and listening provide opportunities to acquire knowledge, explore ideas, express opinions and listen to the opinions of others.
Years 5 to 6 – Building breadth and depth
In Years 5 to 6 students begin to consolidate and build on their knowledge and skills related to language and texts. Typically they are independent readers and writers who take more responsibility for their learning. In these years they begin to develop more structured and critical appreciation of the texts they respond to, comprehend and compose. As students progress through this stage they become more observant of the world around them and more aware of the influence of socio-cultural conventions and expectations. They learn how to use informal and formal language appropriately in a wider range of social contexts and for a range of purposes, including school purposes and those relevant to their lives beyond school. They read, view, write, speak and listen to an expanding range of texts that present challenging ideas and issues. They make connections between their own experiences and ideas and the experiences and ideas they encounter in texts drawn from many contexts.
Along with this our school has made a commitment to the implementation of the Early Years Literacy Program. The Early years Literacy Program is a strategy used by schools to improve early literacy. The program recognises that all children should succeed at literacy by the end of their third year of schooling. Children without the literacy skills and abilities to read, write, use language and understand its meaning in a range of context will struggle to realise their true potential and capabilities.
The essential components of the Early Years Program are:
· A daily 2 hour literacy session
· Small group learning centres
· A partnership between home and school
· A whole school commitment
· An Oral Language Program to assist with the development of oral skills
· A Language Support Program for students at risk
· Intervention and small group withdrawal for explicit teaching
· Additional support for students in Early and Middle years eg Reading Buddies
· Supporting Early Literacy Learning Groups (SELL) for students in years 1-3
· Parent programs so that assistance at home can support class instruction
· Classroom Helpers program. Training is held each year. Parents are encouraged to assist with the reading and learning centres in each classroom.
· Home Reading as an essential part of our school’s reading program. Students will be able to bring chosen texts home to read with their parents.
The English program at Findon Primary School acknowledges the ever-increasing importance of literacy in contemporary life.
The Early Years Literacy Program is well established at Findon in the Junior School. Like School Group and Statewide Standards are regularly achieved. The Literacy Workshop is a feature of every classroom.
Excellent classroom practice is supported by
- Literacy Coaching
- Rich and extensive texts for guided and shared reading
- Multi-media support through Listening Posts and classroom computer banks
- Increasing depth and breadth of Home Reading texts
- Active role of classroom helpers
- A comprehensive Intervention Program including SELL (Supporting Early Literacy Learning) Groups.
- A highlight of the Junior Literacy program is the Oral Language Program. Multi-age groups attend sessions in a specialised classroom where oral language and co-operative developmental play is supported by purpose-designed activities. The children are encouraged to share their experiences at the end of the sessions. A secondary benefit of the Oral Language Program is that for several literacy workshops per week, the classroom teacher is able to focus on the remaining smaller groups in the class.
As the children progress through the school the Early Years strategies continue. The emphasis begins turning towards critical literacy. Shared reading becomes a vehicle exposing the children to the literary demands of a wide range of traditional and contemporary texts. The children work in small groups to read and discuss book, video and computer texts. The aim is to enhance understanding, enjoyment and an exploration of the world via written texts. An extensive range of non-fiction texts in multiple copies is available for use in the classroom. Home reading continues to be an integral part of the reading program.
Much of the content for our reading and writing arises from our “Integrated Curriculum”. Children are given opportunities and instruction in composing various text forms such as letter writing, reports, recounts, scientific procedures, projects and instructions in the context of their wider learning.
In addition to this they are encouraged to pursue creative styles of writing via journals and story writing.
It is through these authentic tasks that teachers are able to provide instruction in spelling, grammar and writers’ craft, in meaningful contexts.
Children are given many opportunities to develop their critical listening and speaking skills in many varied situations such as
- Oral reports of projects
- News times
- Literature discussions
- Sharing of written pieces
- Guest speakers
Teachers actively plan to incorporate all areas of English into their programs/units of work, so that students continue to develp and practise their skills in meaningful ways.
LIBRARY/MULTIMEDIA RESOURCE CENTRE
Findon has an attractive and well organised library/computerised resource centre, comprising approximately 16,000 items.
Classes are time tabled to visit on a weekly basis, where borrowing and research opportunities are available.
The centre provides a broad range of
- Picture stories
- Reference materials
- Maps, Charts and Posters
- Videos and DVD’s
- Listening Post Materials
- Big Books
- Curriculum support material
- Teacher/Parent reference sections
The centre also organises a Book Fair and operates a “Book Club” here children can purchase quality literature at reasonable prices.
The literature program is also supplemented by visiting authors, speakers and performances.
Over recent years, the centre has become the hub for the Information and Technology Program and houses the Interactive Smartboard used for student programs, staff development presentations and parent information