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 6 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 and writing, word study and the explicit teaching of grammar and punctuation in context.
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. There is dedicated time for the teaching of reading and writing, with oral language and listening skills explicitly taught throughout. Within these blocks of time, 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 the shared reading of a text. The teacher demonstrates the skills necessary to make meaning from text, drawing upon a wide range of decoding and comprehension strategies. This is a teacher directed time where students observe how the teacher reads the words and understands what the words mean.
Small group focus on reading
This section of the reading block focuses on guided and independent practice of skills and knowledge previously taught. While the teacher provides additional support to one group with similar needs, other groups of students work independently or in small groups applying the knowledge and skills that are the current focus.
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.