ENGLISH AT HILLSMEADE PRIMARY SCHOOL
At Hillsmeade, we are committed to explicitly teaching reading and writing daily and look for purposeful opportunities to strengthen literacy skills in other areas of the curriculum. We provide students with opportunities to develop skills in the English modes of Reading and Viewing, Writing and Speaking & Listening, through the strands of Language, Literature and Literacy, aligned to the Victorian Curriculum.
Reading and Viewing
Students in Prep – Year 2 are taught how to read using an approach called Little Learners Love Literacy (launched in 2023). This systematic, synthetic phonics program has been formed from the growing body of scientific evidence called The Science of Reading which looks at effective reading instruction and the importance of teaching explicit phonics and phonemic awareness. Little Learners Love Literacy has a big focus on decoding (and encoding) words and developing fluency for our emergent readers.
Alongside Little Learners, our students are exposed to rich, deliberate and purposeful texts utilised to support literacy development and integrate elements of reading, writing and speaking and listening.
Once students have mastered fundamental decoding and fluency skills, our students continue to develop their reading skills by explicit teaching of vocabulary and comprehension skills.
To support the Reading and Viewing curriculum, students will also:
- Have a book box, accessed daily, for independent reading made up of good fit books and books of interest, both fiction and non-fiction.
- Be involved in a variety of small group, targeted reading approaches used across the school, to support reading development during different stages of learning. These include small group reading, guided reading, reciprocal reading and literature circles.
- Be given regular opportunities for read to self, read to someone and listen to reading.
- Read to self promotes reading for meaning, enabling students to use a range of strategies to decode and to foster reading for enjoyment.
- Reading to someone helps readers, especially developing readers, increase areas of comprehension, accuracy and fluency,
- Listen to reading provides fluency models that are valuable to all ages, but especially to students who are inexperienced readers, those whose listening comprehension exceeds their reading level, and those learning English, e.g. class serials, listening to peers read.
Students participate in daily writing sessions following explicit instruction throughout the writing process. The writing process includes planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. A strong focus on areas such as text structure, sentence structure, writing genres, ideas, audience and punctuation are embedded through writing sessions.
To support the Writing curriculum, students will also:
- Be provided with a variety of modelled writing, shared writing, interactive writing and independent writing opportunities that are purposely embedded to strengthen development.
- Be exposed to different writing genres over a period of a few weeks where they are required to complete a mixture of scaffolded and independent writing pieces.
- Receive explicit, direct instruction of spelling, grammar and punctuation with multiple opportunities to apply their knowledge in an appropriate context.
- Participate in explicit handwriting practice (from Prep to Year 2) to ensure they can automatically correctly form letters, helping to reduce the cognitive load when writing independently.
- Be presented with writing opportunities through different curriculum areas, enabling them to write for authentic purposes and varying audiences.
- Be involved in writing conferences and feedback to identify strengths in writing and opportunities for development.
Speaking & Listening
As a key component to forming social relationships as well as being a mode in which learning occurs, speaking and listening is a fundamental part of the teaching and learning program at Hillsmeade Primary School. Students are given opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in a range of informal and formal situations. Furthermore, skills are explicitly taught across the different curriculum areas. Phonological awareness (particularly in Prep – Year 2) is developed through LLLL to provide a solid understanding of the English language system.
Supporting our EAL (English as an Additional Language) learners
At Hillsmeade we have a diverse student population, with a high percentage of our students who speak additional languages. We have a commitment to supporting our English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners by identifying where they sit on the EAL continuum to determine their learning needs. We build on their understanding of the English language through a variety of different teaching strategies, with oral language and vocabulary development central to this commitment.