At Bayswater North, 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.
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 materials support the development of these skills as well as fostering confidence and enjoyment of reading.
Prep to Grade 4
At this early stage of a child’s learning, children at Bayswater North develop their reading skills through the systematic teaching of the following programs:
Phonics is an important part of both reading and writing. At Bayswater North our children are taught their sounds or understanding of phonics using both Letterland and a Phonemic Awareness program. The school phonics program continues throughout the seven years of primary school.
As well as phonics, young readers need to be taught specific reading strategies. To ensure the children are introduced to all the required strategies, our school uses the CAFÉ model which models and teaches reading skills under the headings of Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Extended vocabulary.
During literacy sessions at Bayswater North, the students work in small groups of like-abilities in Guided Reading sessions where texts and activities are strategically matched to students’ individual learning needs. Daily individual reading and one to one reading conferencing with the teacher are an important part of our successful reading program.
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 Bayswater North, 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.
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. Emphasis is placed on developing children’s understanding of text at a deeper level through higher order questioning and greater vocabulary development.
The explicit teaching of reading strategies continues with both the continuation of the CAFÉ model as well as a comprehension program called Cars and Stars. Small group teaching and reinforcement of reading strategies is achieved through Reciprocal Reading groups and Literacy Circles.
Expectations of ‘home reading’ continues, with the focus being on comprehension and continued practice 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.