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Literacy

Literacy at Dohertys Creek P-9 College is based on the philosophy that all students can succeed.  Our students are empowered to be knowledgeable learners and deep thinkers with a clear path to success.  Teachers work closely with students, supporting them to grow and excel at their point of need.  Students are assigned individual learning goals in literacy every three weeks and are provided with a personalised curriculum that supports them to achieve their goals.  Our work in literacy expedites progress towards our School Vision.

Literacy focuses on developing students’ confidence and proficiencies within reading, writing and speaking and listening.  Literacy is a facet of learning across all curriculum areas and is planned carefully and responsively by our teachers according to the needs of our students and the knowledge and skills set out by the Victorian Curriculum.  We prioritise the teaching of literacy and the love of learning literacy.

Our Literacy program also provides opportunities for our students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.  Students’ knowledge is deepened through exploring Aboriginal stories, developing an understanding of dialects spoken and their relation to geographical areas and words that are derived from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Reading occurs daily.  All students participate in quiet reading when they first arrive in the classroom.  We believe that providing them with this time supports our students to value reading and start the day ready to learn.

Our instructional practice is based on the Reader’s Workshop model.  The Workshop model supports students to engage in purposeful and authentic reading experiences.  Explicit teaching focuses on teaching reading strategies that students can then apply while reading independently.  Within the Reader’s Workshop model, students participate in small focus groups (Guided Reading) with the teacher as well as one on one reading conferences.

During reading students are taught to:

  • Use a range of meaningful comprehension strategies to support deepening understanding while reading a variety of texts across different genres
  • Read fluently with an understanding of grammatical structures
  • Monitor reading and self correct as they read
  • Deepen understanding of phonics and word knowledge
  • Identify and understand text structures and features
  • Examine how ideas are expressed and developed
  • Examine and respond to literary texts
  • Identify similarities and differences between texts

Each classroom has a classroom library.  Students have access to reading materials that support their learning across the curriculum.  They can choose between a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.  From the beginning of the year, students are taught how to choose a ‘just right’ text.  They use this knowledge to choose texts from the classroom library for their independent reading activities.

All students take home books to read every night along with a reading log book for you or your child to record their reading in.  These books are at an ‘easy’ level to support students to confidently read and practise the skills they are learning at school.  Teachers check student reading log books on a weekly basis.  We highly encourage reading at home every day.  Your family can decide when this will best be done.  This may be done after your child gets home from school and has a snack and a break.  It might be more convenient for your child to read their book while you are preparing dinner or after breakfast in the morning before heading to school.

Students participate in Writer’s Workshops daily.  The Writer’s Workshop is a carefully planned session where students are explicitly taught and provided with authentic learning experiences to apply new understandings.  Like the Reader’s Workshop, students participate in small focus groups and conferences with the teacher, supporting students to learn at their point of need.

Students are immersed in the writing process which includes; planning and rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading and publishing.  Throughout the writing process, students develop and apply their understanding of; text structure, sentence and grammatical structures, vocabulary choices, spelling, punctuation and handwriting.

Over the course of the year, our students develop an understanding of writing imaginative, persuasive and informative texts.  They learn how different types of texts serve different social purposes.  Over the course of the year, students create texts such as narratives, explanations, procedures, poetry, letters, reviews, expositions etc.

Spelling is a complex skill that requires students to use their understanding of phonological, orthographic, morphemic and etymological knowledge.

Each year level plans for spelling systematically, designing learning sequences that meet the needs of our students and the standards set out by the Victorian Curriculum.  Explicit teaching of spelling includes:

  • Producing letter sounds (phonemes) and representing these phonemes with letters (graphemes)
  • Developing an understanding of spelling rules
  • Using a ‘phoneme fist’ to support sounding out words
  • Using visual cues to support the correct spelling of ‘sight words’ such as; the, my and said
  • Breaking words up into their syllables
  • Identifying morphemes including base words, prefixes and suffixes
  • Investigating etymology, identifying word roots, origin and related words.

As part of the homework program, students are given spelling words to practise.  These words are aligned with what they are learning at school.  You can support your child by asking them:

  • What sound are you learning to spell this week?
  • What are the letters that you use to represent this sound?
  • Can you read your words to me?
  • What are the other tricky parts of the words?
  • What do you need to remember as you are writing these words?

Speaking and listening has a strong interrelationship with reading and writing and is planned for and explicitly taught across the curriculum.  During speaking and listening tasks, students build their capacity to use oral language, which incorporates receptive and expressive language.  Students are explicitly taught how to use language for different purposes, such as developing relationships, expressing opinions and feelings, discussing their learning, expressing wants and needs, responding to and giving instructions, telling stories, communicating facts etc.

Speaking and listening occur daily in the classroom through planned and unplanned opportunities.  In the classroom, students are developing their confidence and ability through a variety of ways including;

  • Making an acknowledgement of country at the start of the day
  • Expressing a compliment towards the PATHS kid
  • Listening to and responding to instructions
  • Asking questions to clarify understanding of learning tasks
  • Roleplaying
  • Expressing ideas about a book to a partner, teacher, small groups and/or the whole class
  • Talking about their learning
  • Responding to carefully curated questions
  • Social interactions during all curriculum areas but in particular during ‘Discovery’ (Foundation students), Inquiry, group work, partner work and problem solving tasks

Our students are also taught how to use pace, tone, volume and nonverbal communication skills to effectively communicate with others.  They plan and rehears for formal opportunities to speak, such as creating a speech to persuade others and speaking at our weekly assembly.  They are also given opportunities to speak with less familiar people, such as visiting community members.