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At Eltham North Primary School we incorporate a variety of approaches to teach your child the skills required to become a proficient reader. All of our approaches are based around the Science of Reading principles. We believe that given the right tools, skills and strategies all children can succeed. All our approaches aim to build a love of reading and literature in our students.

Our Program Includes

  • Little Learners Love Literacy -junior school
  • Independent Reading
  • Guided Reading - small targeted reading groups
  • Literacy Circles - upper school

The Science of Reading

The Science of Reading is an interdisciplinary-body of scientifically based research, worldwide, ABOUT reading. It comes from combined research in many fields including cognitive psychology, neuroscience, linguistics and education. Understanding the Science of Reading deepens our teacher’s knowledge base about how, why and what we need to teach students to become successful and engaged readers, writers, spellers and speakers. The Science of Reading uses evidence-based teaching Principles which we develop our English program around.

These Principles are:

  • Systematic and Cumulative - sequenced and all concepts are built upon developmentally
  • Explicit Instruction - focused, modelled teaching practise
  • Diagnostic - based on evidence
  • Interdisciplinary approach - English skills such as reading, writing and spelling are taught TOGETHER so that students are learning skills and strategies simultaneously, using all 4 pathways (seeing, saying, hearing, writing). This is evident from Little Learners Love Literacy in the junior school to Literacy Circles in the Senior School.

The elements of the Science of Reading create these building blocks for explicit teaching which are used in our English instruction across the school for student success:

Little Learners Love Literacy

Little Learner Love Literacy is an instructional practice which is explicit, sequential and evidence based. This approach teaches children the skills required to read, write and spell. Our students are explicitly taught sounds and letters which are used in decodable texts, allowing students to become confident readers.

LLLL focuses on the following components:
●     Handwriting
●     Reading fluency
●     Vocabulary
●     Comprehension

Reading TO children – Read Alouds
Reading WITH children – Shared Reading
Reading BY children – Independent Reading

For more information please visit the LLLL website

Independent Reading

Independent Reading is an instructional approach which focuses on students monitoring their own comprehension by teaching readers to focus on their thinking while reading, based on explicitly taught comprehension skills.

Students benefit from daily reading experiences while learning how to master the reading process.  They are involved in three types of reading experiences:

Reading TO children – Read Alouds
Reading  WITH children – Shared Reading
Reading BY children – Independent Reading

Independent reading opportunities occur throughout the week. Teachers structure independent reading times where the children engage with texts while thinking about their reading, practising explicitly taught comprehension strategies and are often goal focused.

An example of what an Independent Reading session may look like follows:  

Reading To or With students – The teachers will explicitly model a specific reading strategy or reading behaviour to begin the session. In the Junior School this may be a decoding strategy or comprehension strategy such as prediction using text clues. In the Upper School, the comprehension strategy explicitly modelled will be more complex such as summarising using the main idea. Reading behaviours explicitly taughti nclude behaviours such as self monitoring reading, building stamina andknowing what to do if I stray from the text.

Students are then provided with time to practise these skills and behaviours through an Independent Reading Session. Students have a ‘Just Right’ (a book they have chosen based on criteria so that the text is at their level for reading growth) They record their thinking in a reading journal ready to share in discussions with their a group of peers, whole class and teacher.

Guided Reading

Guided reading is a small group instructional approach that supports developing readers to process new and more challenging texts at increasing levels of difficulty, with teacher support. Students are grouped in like-ability groups and texts are selected at the group’s instructional reading level. Students read aloud and the teacher supports the group and individuals to implement strategies to decode and comprehend text. Through guided reading students are provided with the opportunity to:

●     Engage with decodable text(Junior school)
●     Engage with a rich variety of texts
●     Read more challenging texts with support
●     Be supported in expanding their knowledge of reading strategies
●     Assists students in thinking like readers

An example of what a Guided Reading session may look like follows:
Whole class explicit instruction of reading strategy focus. Students are then grouped and will be work in rotations over the week in the following activities:

●     Teacher Group - guided reading session
●     Follow Up Activity -independent practise of focus of the guided session
●     Other group activities supporting the English/Reading program

At the end of the session there is the opportunity for students to share their understandings, new learnings, questions, thoughts and opinions in a safe and supportive environment.

Literacy Circles

Literacy circles are conducted in the upper school and provide the opportunity for students to discuss books in depth with their peers. The discussion is guided by the students' responses to what they have read. A series of roles are allocated and each student undertakes each role through the course of the text. Groups are decided on text choice so a shared interest in the topic is established early. The text is broken into achievable sections for discussion at each meeting.

Literacy Circle Roles include:

●     Discussion Director: Students create higher order questions (no yes or no questions) for the group to discuss  Examples: How did you feel about…..What would you have done if…
●     Summariser: Students summarise chapters. They include main events, important characters, theme, setting, causes and effects, and anything else they believe is important.  They also explain why these are significant to the story.
●     Word Wizard: Students find new,interesting or difficult vocabulary words in the text.  They then define and use these terms in context of the story.
●     Connector: Students choose at least 3 connections to the outside world. They can connect to their own life, school, another book, a current event, a historical event, etc. Students share why they made that connection.
●     Literacy Luminary: Students choose at least 3 sections of the text that they feel are important to share or that they enjoyed reading.
●     Figurative Language: Students identify the numerous types of figurative language used in the text. This may lead to discussion about the author’s craft – why the author chose to use those particular words or phrases, and whether or not they were effective.

The aim of Literature Circles is to encourage thoughtful discussion and a love of reading in our students.