Literacy

The focus of the Junior Year Literacy program is to develop the reading, writing and speaking and listening skills of all students from foundation through to Year 2, This provides the building blocks of skills, strategies and attitudes for future learning.

At Eltham North we incorporate a variety of approaches to ensure your child is receiving the best possible teaching and learning practices in literacy. The Spelling program is called Write to Read, Independent Reading (CAFÉ), guided reading and explicit teaching are some of the highly effective instructional practices implemented at ENPS.

The Junior School Literacy Program is a way for our school to support the implementation of a strategic and comprehensive approach to early literacy achievement in the first years of schooling. Our teaching model is based on the recognition that all children should succeed in literacy.  It draws on best classroom practice in Victoria, interstate and overseas as well as the expertise of literacy consultants and university academics. The Early Years Literacy Program is a resource for schools to support the implementation of a strategic and comprehensive approach to early literacy achievement in the first five years of schooling. The Early Years Literacy Program is based on the recognition that all children should succeed in literacy.  It draws on good classroom practice in Victoria, interstate and overseas as well as the expertise of literacy consultants and university academics.

The strengths of the our English Program are its essential features:

  • A focused two hour literacy session incorporating key teaching approaches such as shared and guided reading
  • Additional assistance to complement and support the classroom program with Reading Recovery as the recommended intervention program for Year One.
  • Development of strong home - school partnerships through communication and delivery of Classroom Helpers’ programs
  • Focused professional development that provides Junior teachers with the skills and understandings required for effective program implementation
  • Literacy coordinators who ensure that all features of the program are implemented, and lead whole school commitment to all aspects of the program.

Additional features include:

  • Prep School Entry Assessment
  • Intensive literacy testing of each student in Year 1 – does this occur?
  • Two hour daily literacy block
  • One hour a week explicit speaking and listening hour
  • Individual Learning Plans
  • Home and Support groups
  • Ongoing professional learning for all staff
  • Coordinators in Literacy
  • Intervention and extension in Literacy for identified students
  • Write To Read Literacy Program
  • Independent Reading using the Cafe Menu
  • 1 : 1 Reading Recovery intervention for students who are identified as requiring additional support in their reading and writing development
  • There is quite a bit of double up in these dot points – we have added new ones without looking at the others

In addition to supporting the daily implementation of the program through classroom modelling, re-sourcing and sharing of expertise, the coordinators plan and provide professional learning opportunities for all staff in an on-going manner.

Some of the Literacy practices used at Eltham North Primary School  

Write To Read (W2R) is a course designed for teaching Spelling, Writing and Reading. W2R develops a system of skill building for Foundational Literacy Skills that rely on multi-sensory perceptual work, breaking down the complex reading and writing system into small units of understanding.  The philosophy of the program is based on: multi-sensory learning, children being empowered by learning, encouraging analytical thinking, requiring quality work children are proud of, articulation of knowledge, children become in control of learning, children become independent learners, understanding needs of students with learning difficulties.

Write To Read has two components:

  • Teachers learn highly effective strategies for instruction that develops their teaching style as well as assist in the organisation of their lesson content
  • Students learn through effective teacher delivery and explicit teaching

All class teachers, aides and support teachers have completed 9 full day certified one course and 5 day certificate two course. I am proud of the level of commitment our teachers have made to participate in these courses. Using W2R, students are taught the skills and given the tools required to learn to read and spell. Children become empowered, more independent thinkers who are in control of their learning.

W2R integrates the following elements:

Reading Fluency: Read for spelling and reading, teacher modelling, repetitive reading of same text for decoding, meaning and expression.

Spelling / Decoding: Phonemic awareness, phonics & decoding for reading, handwriting / manuscript, cursive, rule application and fluency.

Comprehension: Literary analysis, understanding text structure, comprehension strategies.

Writing: Sentences, paragraphs, composition, story writing, essays, poetry, grammar.

Vocabulary lessons:  explicit instruction, multiple exposure to words in different contexts.

Listening and Clear Speaking.

THE READING CAFE- Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Expanding vocabulary

The Reading CAFE is an effective teaching structure that provides students with strategies to develop greater comprehension.

The purpose of the CAFE Menu is to help students understand and master the strategies used by proficient readers (Boushey & Moser, 2012) Through Independent Reading students are taught to monitor their comprehension of their chosen text. It is vital that we teach readers to focus on their thinking while reading. Comprehension monitoring is the capacity of the reader to notice while reading whether a text is making sense or not. Monitoring is a habit for effective readers; we tend to know right away when a text is not making sense.

Components of the Reading CAFÉ program include: independent reading, conferring, strategy groups and  authentic reading tasks (responding to reading).

An Independent Reading Session may incorporates the following:

  • Explicit strategy instruction through an introductory mini lesson
  • The reading of self selected 'Just Right Texts' whilst maintaining a 'Balanced Reading Diet'
  • Working on and being accountable to a class and individual reading goal
  • Recording reflections in a reading journal to ‘keep tracks of their thinking’
  • Teacher/student - 1 on 1 conferring 
  • Small group strategy instruction
  • Whole class reflection

Components:

  • The Reading CAFE
  • Independent Reading
  • Conferring
  • Strategy groups
  • Authentic reading tasks (responding to reading)

The intent of the Reading Workshop (daily 50 minute sessions) is for students to learn to: Keep track of their thinking while reading;

  • listen to the voice in their head that speaks to them as they read;
  • notice when the text makes sense or when it does not;
  • know when, why and how to apply specific strategies to maintain and further understanding; use 'fix-up' strategies, including stopping to refocus their thinking, rereading or reading on; question, connect, infer, sort and sift ideas, notice new information;
  • show a range of emotions, responding with delight, wonder, sadness, even outrage; have a conversation with the text;

Leave tracks of their thinking:

  • remember what they were thinking as they read;
  • monitor comprehension and enhance understanding;
  • make their thinking visible; ( It is impossible for teachers to know what students are thinking when they read unless they tell us through

During the reading workshop students are taught to:

  • identify their purpose for reading;
  • become aware of their thinking as they read;
  • monitor their understanding and keep track of meaning;
  • listen to the voice in their head to make sense of text;
  • notice when they stray from thinking about the text;
  • detect obstacles and confusions that derail meaning;
  • understand how a variety of strategies can help them repair meaning when it breaks down;
  • know when, why, and how to apply specific strategies to maintain and further understand;
  • understand the importance of a "Balanced Reading Diet".

During the Reading Workshop students are introduced to and encouraged to use the following language (Anchor charts are built with and referred to by the students)

"Since I don't understand this word, a"The text makes me think ..."  "This connects to what I read"

"A good strategy would be to ..."  "My inner voice says ..."   "I need to revise my thinking by ..."     "Something I could do is ..."   "I don't understand ..."   "I'm not thinking about the text here ..."    "I need to reread..."  "This doesn't make sense to me ..."        "Maybe if I read on ..."   "Huh? I don't get this part". "Oh, now I get it..." (after reading on )  "Maybe I'd better..."

Teachers can ask the following questions to guide our assessment of student understanding:

  • Do they jot down their thinking to leave tracks of their inner conversation and to monitor understanding?
  • Do they go back and refocus their thinking?
  • Do they reread or read on for clarification and to clear up confusion?
  • Are they able to use fix up strategies to get back on track?
  • Do they stop, think and react to the information to gain understanding?
  • Are they beginning to articulate the strategies they use to understand the content as well as the reading process?
  • Do they refer to the class chart for support?

What Does This Look Like in the Classroom? (Evidence)

  • Reading Journals contain the students' reactions, questions, connections, and inferences about their reading?
  • Learning Intentions evident
  • Student thinking evident
  • Short texts are used where students have jotted down their thinking
  • Anchor Charts — What We Learned About Monitoring Comprehension, Fix—Up Strategies, Self Monitoring Language
  • Students are asking themselves the following types of questions:
    • Did I follow my inner conversation?
    • Did I leave tracks of my thinking?
    • Did I stop and refocus when my mind wandered?
    • Did I go back and reread when the text didn't make sense?
    • Did I use a fix-up strategy?
    • Did I try reading on when I was confused?

Within the Reading Workshop a successful Independent Reading session would look like: ALL STUDENTS

  • follow a process that has been developed, modelled and is understood by the class
  • quietly read self selected 'Just Right Texts' whilst maintaining a 'Balanced Reading Diet'
  • notice when they are not paying attention and stopping, going back, and refocus
  • noticing when they are confused and reread confusing parts to try to make sense of them
  • monitor the words they don't know, rereading them, reading on, using dictionaries to figure them out
  • ask questions when they are confused to help make sense of text
  • write down their thoughts to keep track of their thinking

THE TEACHER

  • confers with individual students ( reinforcing and setting new reading goals)
  • takes a strategy group (specific instruction with a small group all having a common reading goal)
  • roves and monitors students as they read
  • maintains up to date reading records

Writing:

ENPS incorporates a range of approaches to writing instruction focussing on whole class, small group and individual needs.

  • Whole class teaching using Language Experience (Foundation), Modelled Writing and Shared Writing approaches across all years
  • Small groups using Interactive Writing Shared Writing and Guided Writing
  • Students writing independently  a piece related to the whole class focus
  • Teachers conduct Roving Conferences with specific students to support students learning
  • Whole Class Share time to share and celebrate the students work and achievements
  • These structures and approaches are consistent across all classrooms at Eltham North. 

Speaking and Listening:  Oral language is a key building block in literacy development.  During the foundation years students learn to listen and respond to a variety of texts and situations. They are taught how to hear rhyme, letter patterns and sounds in words, how to question and begin to extend their vocabulary to express their needs, feelings and thoughts. They are taught how to be an active and considerate listener and how to engage in appropriate conversations with peers.

These above skills are integrated throughout the curriculum and are taught using a variety of strategies including:

  • Explicit instruction through an introductory mini lesson
  • Individual or group work situations to reinforce strategy taught
  • Mini presentations
  • Show and tell
  • Whole class reflection

Spelling:  see section on Write To Reading Literacy program (W2R)

Parental Involvement in Literacy: We value parent involvement and provide parent helpers’ training in literacy. Curriculum information is given in a variety of ways, such as information evenings and through the school newsletter.

All this is done in a supportive and nurturing environment that promotes and values the development of each student’s sense of achievement, and enthusiasm for learning.

We are proud of our achievements. Exceptional progress in Early Years Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation has been achieved. Data on reading level achievement for students in Prep to Year 2 indicate very high and consistent levels of student achievement. Both school and state targets were exceeded in Prep, Year 1 and 2.  Also see NAPLAN performance report in the Assessment & Reporting section and My School data in the plans and reports section.  Literacy tips for parents to assist your child at home:  Year Prep - Year 2   and Year 3 - Year 6