At Tootgarook Primary School we understand how crucial literacy skills are to support all learning and use evidence-based methods to ensure all students succeed and thrive in this area.
Tootgarook Primary School implements a whole school approach to the teaching of Writing supported by Andrell Education’s VCOP.
Across all year levels, explicit teaching focuses on a range of writing genres, including the structures and features of the English language. These genres incorporate imaginative, informative and persuasive writing styles.
Writing sessions include explicit teaching and modelling, independent writing, group and individual differentiated tasks, student conferences and reflection time. Sessions include a mini lesson of approximately 15 minutes where the explicit teaching occurs. Students then engage in independent writing followed by editing time. Throughout the year, students publish a variety of writing pieces at the completion of the writing process.
Student conferences support and extend students’ individual learning needs. They can occur individually or with a small group of students. Students receive constructive feedback on independent and moderated writing pieces, to continue developing their writing skills.
During student conferences, teachers collect evidence to support and extend students’ learning. This may take the form of checklists, observational notes, photos or work samples. Students also receive positive and constructive peer feedback during share time. Students use these writing conferences and feedback to develop personal learning goals, which become their learning focus during writing sessions.
At Tootgarook Primary School spelling and grammar are taught explicitly in modelled, shared, interactive and guided reading and writing sessions. We use a phonemic approach to teach Spelling supported by the THRASS teaching approach. Spelling and grammar are taught according to the Victorian Curriculum guidelines for each level. Mentor texts are used as resources to demonstrate spelling and grammar in context.
Across the different stages of primary school, F-2, 3-4 and 5-6, teaching emphasis will change according to the students’ stages of spelling development and spelling needs. Assessment of students’ spelling ability can take many forms. The analysis of students’ writing contributes to a rich profile of their understanding of spelling and grammar.
Spelling requires students to draw on a range of knowledge about the English language. This knowledge includes: phonological knowledge, orthographical knowledge, morphemic knowledge and etymological knowledge.
One of the key goals of teaching spelling is to support students to develop flexible and efficient strategies they can use when learning to spell unfamiliar words.
Reading and Viewing
Tootgarook Primary School follows a whole school approach to Reading and Viewing. We explicitly teach Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Vocabulary strategies. The lessons include explicit modelling of reading strategies using mentor texts, time for independent reading and teacher conferencing with students. Students participate in reading workshops which can include teacher focus groups, word work activities, reading responses, comprehension activities, literature circles, ICT tasks and literacy games. At the conclusion of each session, students participate in self and peer reflections based on the success criteria linked to the explicit learning focus.
During individual and group student- teacher conferences, each student and their teacher will collaboratively set individual learning goals for students to work towards. These goals are regularly reviewed.
Students are exposed to various modes of media including fiction and non-fiction texts, video clips and films. Through Critical Literacy, students are taught the skills to analyse and evaluate the multimodal texts and reflect on their own learning by sharing their knowledge and understandings.
Students’ Reading and Viewing is assessed according to the Victorian Curriculum through informal and formal methods. These can include student-teacher conferences, Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking, observations and online testing.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening refers to the various formal and informal ways oral language is used to convey and receive meaning. It involves the development of knowledge about the appropriate oral language for particular audiences and occasions, including body language and voice. It also involves the development of active-listening strategies.
How we teach Speaking and Listening at Tootgarook Primary School:
Speaking and Listening is embedded within all curriculum areas. We provide students with opportunities to develop and practise their skills in Speaking and Listening through both incidental experiences and through more formal planned activities.
Whole-School Teaching Approaches:
At TPS, some whole-school tools used to encourage students develop their Speaking and Listening skills include:
Literacy and Numeracy Tips for Parents
The Department of Education released a helpful resource, 'Literacy and Numeracy Tips to Help Your Child Every Day' which provides handy tips and ways you can help your child develop literacy and numeracy skills. It provides fun, inexpensive, accessible and practical activities you can do with your child at home.
Parent Booklet 'Literacy and Numeracy Tips to Help Your Child Every Day'