The development of literacy is central to the school curriculum. Literacy involves speaking and listening, reading and viewing, word study, and writing across all of our lessons, every day. The skills for literacy build in complexity over the years, nurturing students as learners and communicators who speak with confidence and poise and read and write with enjoyment and purpose.
The Literacy Program caters for all students with learning tasks at each child’s point of need. Teachers at Newham Primary school use The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model where students are supported with the necessary teaching and learning scaffolds for them to achieve success.
Daily writing lessons provide students with the opportunities to learn how best to compose texts across the full range of genres with an awareness of the correct purpose, the text features and structures commonly seen, and the language features particular to the genre. In this, students are made aware of the writing cycle – brainstorming, planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing, and the skills required for each phase.
Teachers model and share the writing process for and with their students, showing them the thinking and skills required in text creation and editing. Mentor texts are also used to provide students with examples of excellent writing for them to aspire to and explore. Students are taught how to provide others with feedback on their writing, and how to accept the opinions of others to make their writing ‘even better’.
The regular whole-school “Big Write” provides a protected time where children are engaged in sustained writing on a common prompt. These pieces are used to develop writing goals with the students and serve as important formative assessments.
Teachers will model good reading behaviours and skills, share reading with students, provide time for independent reading, and guide students as individuals or small groups through particular goals and skills. Students learn from an early age how they can use and choose reading strategies for different genres (informational, instructional, persuasive, narrative, poetry, etc.) and how to respond to their reading through peer conversations, in guided groups and through written formats.
Students are assessed regularly using the Fountas & Pinnell Framework throughout the year, and teachers work with the students on individual goals that will support the reading of more complicated materials.
Phonics & Word Study
Newham PS offers a comprehensive synthetic Phonics Program in the early years (F-2) grounded in the Letters & Sounds Program. Students are supported to make the links between the letters of the alphabet to the common sounds they make, individually and blended. In support of this is a whole school approach to word study that directly teaches children Phonological Awareness, Regular Spelling Patterns, Morphology, Word Origins and the purposeful building of a wide Vocabulary to use when speaking, writing and reading.
Oral language lays the foundation for the reading and writing skills children will develop at Newham PS. They use oral language in all aspects of their education – in the classroom as they connect with peers and teachers, to explore and explain their thinking, to discuss their feelings and emotions, and in finding new ways to communicate ideas. We firmly subscribe to the evidence that having a solid foundation in oral language helps children to become successful readers and strong communicators as well as build their confidence and overall sense of well being.