At Banyule Primary School, our Literacy program is based around developing the essential knowledge and skills required for our students to thrive in the real world. Literacy lessons teach students the vital skills of reading and writing as well as develop equally important speaking and listening skills.
Our teachers work together to create units of work aligned to the Victorian Curriculum that draw on interests, student needs and are delivered using our Instructional Model. This is based on the gradual release of responsibility approach to ensure our students are supported in understanding and developing a range of new skills. Each lesson incorporates the principles of explicit instruction with modelled examples, small group instruction, independent work time and reflective discussion. Tasks are differentiated to target student needs based on data collected and school wide assessments.
In the early years, we follow Little Learners Love Literacy which is an explicit, phonics based literacy approach for teaching children to read, write and spell. Students are supported with decodable texts which ensure success as they only use the sounds and letters they have been explicitly taught, allowing them to apply their learning and build confidence.
As our students progress through their years at BPS, they are constantly challenged to develop their reading skills including and not limited to phonological awareness, decoding, expanding their vocabulary and building comprehension. Each student has their own Reader’s Notebook to respond authentically to the range of texts they are exposed to and teachers use as evidence of student’s thinking, set individual goals and deepen their comprehension/thinking. Home reading is encouraged as part of our homework program to develop confidence, build on skills taught and foster a love of reading.
In Writing, our teachers model a range of different genres and demonstrate how to generate ideas, use appropriate language and conventions (spelling/grammar/punctuation) required at each level. Handwriting and typing skills are important and explicitly taught throughout the school. At BPS, we encourage students to choose topics of interest when working their way through the writing process and target their needs through individual conferences and small group instruction. Students have Writer’s notebooks where they are able to write about a range of topics demonstrating what they know about the writing process, spelling and grammar whilst nurturing their creativity. Students are encouraged to publish in a variety of engaging formats and provided opportunities to regularly share their pieces with their peers for feedback.
From Year 2, we use SMART Spelling which is an explicit and systematic evidence based approach to teach spelling. Students are explicitly taught sounds in context through words that range from simple to more complex. They are guided by their teacher to choose words based on their needs and are regularly tested in order to track their progress. Dictation is also an important aspect of the SMART approach which allows teachers to track transference of the spelling pattern taught and have weekly data on each student.
Speaking & Listening is embedded in everything we do here at Banyule. It is integrated in our daily programs, a requirement for homework tasks and promoted throughout a range of leadership roles. Students will experience a range of language experiences, be encouraged to use a range of new vocabulary and will participate as listeners and speakers in regular conversations, discussions and presentations in their classrooms.
How can you support learning at home?
Families play a key role in developing a child’s language and literacy skills from birth. A child’s understanding of the world and their capacity to learn is greatly influenced by how much their family values their literacy skills. Please visit the following website to discover the many ways you can support your child’s literacy learning at home: