Sometimes parents may not always be aware of the daily routines teachers have in their classes. The truth is that our teachers are more about ‘getting on with the job’ of teaching our wonderful students, than making sure people know what a great job they are doing!
I would like to take this opportunity to speak on behalf of our teachers to say what great ‘Literacy Learning’ is happening in our classrooms on a daily basis.
Reading: In the early years (Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten) students are learning the basics of reading through their engagement in daily stories and many varied oral language experiences. In the Lower Primary classes (Pre-Primary to Year Two) students are involved in a levelled Guided Reading Program. That is, within each class, students are grouped according to their reading abilities. They then work with the teacher on learning explicit strategies to assist reading and comprehension skills using books at their specific reading levels. In the Upper Primary classes (Year Three to Year Six) they are also incorporating Guided Reading through the use of books and levelled informative texts. In addition to this, students are involved in the ‘Accelerated Reader’ program which enables students to be tested to find their specific reading level. They can borrow books from class or the Library which are again aimed at their instructional reading level.
Writing: In the early years class teachers incorporate pre-writing skills through play-based learning activities and again through engaging oral language activities. It is fundamental that children learn to say words, and correctly construct sentences orally, before they can write them. In the Primary School from Pre-Primary to Year Six we are undertaking writing activities that are supported by a new SCEA writing initiative called ‘Brightpath’. Through this forum we are able to collaborate and make consistent teacher judgements on student’s work, based on a measured continuum and standard.
New Literacy Coordinator role and ‘Literacy Enhancement Program: Reading is one of the most fundamental skills for life. This is why MCC places such a strong focus on explicitly teaching the skills necessary to enable students to be competent and confident readers. It is also the reason we have created the new position of a 'Literacy Coordinator'. In this position, I can not only see first-hand what is happening in our classes, but can coordinate and oversee all literacy programs and training that is happening amongst our staff and within the Primary School as a whole. Part of my role is to teach a double period across all classes from Pre-Primary to Year Six. These sessions focus on Guided Reading and Grammar concepts in writing. I coordinate closely with each classroom teacher to tailor lessons to meet the needs of each class.
I also have a second role to provide literacy support to students who just need a little more time to enhance their developing skills in reading. The aim is to help students reach the level of an independent reader. Once at that level, they can pick up anything to read and read it with confidence, and a deeper understanding. Part of what I provide through my literacy sessions in each class, is aimed at teaching those independent readers the skills to comprehend more deeply what they are reading, as they are reading it.
Sometimes we find students able to read words in given texts quite capably, but without the ability to demonstrate true or deeper understanding of the written content. These children seem to lack the ability to visualise what is really happening in the context of the story or passage. These are the students we focus on to develop and extend, to reach that deeper level of understanding. I have been in close consultation with each classroom teacher to determine which students will benefit from this program. Your child will receive a letter today if they have been selected to participate in this program.
New Books: I would like to take this opportunity to also say a HUGE THANK YOU to all those parents and grandparents who have helped cover HUNDREDS of books (our new readers)! Some books were acquired to add to our current sets of ‘Guided Readers’ while others were bought to stock each classroom, from Pre-Kindergarten to Year Six, with brand new ‘Home Readers’. These books include exciting new titles that have already had students excited to read them! I even had an excited Year Six student chasing after me asking “When can we get those books? When can we get those books?”
I am SO passionate about students learning to read confidently. I enjoyed seeing their excited faces when I delivered the boxes of books; it just warmed my heart! People keep asking me if I miss being in class, but I have to say “I’m not out of class, I’m involved in every class!” and totally loving being able to add to the excitement of reading across the whole Primary Campus!
Mrs Kirrily Donoghoe