St Mary’s Primary School recognizes English as the keystone upon which all learning is built. Based upon this philosophical position, a 2 hour English Block is implemented each school day. We believe that all children can achieve high standards in English, given sufficient time and support. It is our belief that focused teaching, engaged learning time and high expectations for all students impact on the literacy outcomes of all students. From Prep through to Year 7 the children are exposed to a wide variety of engaging literacy experiences that build their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.The English Block will be made up of Shared, guided & independent reading, word study, explicit teaching of grammar and punctuation in context and writing instruction. In order to provide targeted, individualized instruction our teachers primarily use the gradual release of responsibility model. This also ensures a consistent approach throughout the school. .At the commencement of each year, teachers assess individual students at all levels, to identify their strengths and needs in English. This information provides a pathway for that particular student's learning. Throughout the year, teachers continually assess and monitor student progress to identify student needs and plan appropriate learning experiences that will assist students to develop their competence in literacy.
Our timetable reflects the importance we place on the acquisition of literacy skills, with each class dedicating two hours per day to the teaching of literacy. Reading is the focus for one hour and Writing is the focus for the second hour with Oral Language and Listening skills explicitly taught throughout. Within these one hour blocks the structure of whole-class/small-group/whole-class is maintained.
Whole class focus on Reading
During this phase of the lesson all students are involved in shared reading of a text, with the teacher demonstrating the skills necessary to make meaning from text utilizing a continuum of comprehension skills. This is a teacher directed time demonstrating how texts work.
Small group focus on reading
This section of the reading block focuses on guided practice of skills/knowledge previously taught. While one small group works with the teacher other students will be involved in specific reading or oral language activities, working within a group or independently.
Whole class reading share time
During this period, students are given the opportunity to reflect upon concepts covered, share their opinions about texts and present their own thinking based upon their reading responses.
Word Study Focus
In section of the lesson, students participate in investigating developmentally appropriate words. Routines are established to support whole class word study and group word study to develop the thinking skills to support both reading and writing.
Whole class focus on Writing
The teacher models the writing process to demonstrate and teach how texts are constructed. At this point, explicit instruction is provided in grammar and punctuation.
Small group focus on Writing
This section of the writing block focuses on teacher/student conferencing on aspects of the writing task. While one small group works with the teacher other students will be involved in specific independent writing activities.
Whole class writing share time
Reflecting on, sharing and celebrating students' learning, individual and group.