The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens.
It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others and with the world around them.
Literacy learning at Lyndale Greens Primary School involves developing a love and appreciation for language in many forms. Students learn to comprehend the ideas and information presented in fiction and non-fiction printed texts, as well as visual and digital media. As creators of texts, students learn to inform, persuade, discuss, argue, entertain, respond and reflect. Students develop the skills to listen to discussions, clarify content and challenge other’s ideas. They learn to make deliberate choices about language and visuals when communicating to various audiences.
While literacy permeates all areas of the curriculum, students are engaged in focused literacy learning in a daily two-hour literacy block that incorporates explicit teaching of the skills of Reading and Viewing, Speaking and Listening, and Writing. Based on the Victorian Curriculum, the literacy program at Lyndale Greens Primary School aims to develop in children:
• A knowledge of the ways in which language varies according to context, purpose, audience and content, and the capacity to apply this knowledge.
• A knowledge of the linguistic patterns used to construct different texts and the capacity to apply this knowledge.
• A broad knowledge of a range of texts and a capacity to relate this to aspects of contemporary society and personal experience.
• The capacity to discuss and analyse texts.
• A knowledge of the ways interpretation and understanding of texts may vary according to personal, social and cultural differences, and the capacity to develop reasoned arguments about interpretations and meanings.
Literacy learning at Lyndale Greens Primary School encompasses a synthesis of effective teaching approaches and includes:
• VCOP and Big Write
• Seven Steps to Writing Success
• Question Answer Relationships (QAR) strategies
• Self-monitoring and fix-up strategies
• Word Knowledge
Students are provided with a wide range of experiences and resources that will stimulate and enrich their language development. Teaching groups are fluid and flexible, and change according to need.
What does a literacy session look like?
Teachers at Lyndale Greens Primary School collaboratively plan their Reading lessons using the VCAA domains, to cater to their students’ specific needs. Teachers decide on specific learning intentions and success criteria for each lesson and make these explicit to students by demonstrating and modelling what success looks like and how students can achieve success. Students develop a deeper understanding of the elements that make a good reader through learning various strategies that are explicitly taught each session. We focus on building vocabulary and background knowledge as students need a wide range of knowledge and understandings to comprehend what they read. QAR strategies are the back bone to the process of reading and of understanding what is read. Research demonstrates deep learning develops over time via multiple, spaced interactions with new knowledge and concepts. For this reason teachers allow students to practise new skills over several days and use different activities to vary the interactions learners have with new knowledge and skills.
Teachers and peers provide formal and informal feedback throughout lessons. This can be oral, written, occur during learning, and at the end of a learning sequence. Whatever its form, it comprises specific advice a student can use to improve performance immediately.
At the end of each lesson teachers check for understanding and revisit what was covered to reinforce the students’ learning. Spelling is also taught explicitly as students progress through the SoundWaves program and as teachers identify areas specific to the ne
eds of the student, group or class. Teachers also focus on helping students to transfer their reading skills to writing.
Teachers at Lyndale Greens Primary School also collaboratively plan their Writing lessons using the VCAA domains and the Seven Steps to Writing Success and VCOP programs. LINKS to Seven Steps and VCOP sites
By using a structured weekly writing block, students develop a deeper understanding of the elements that make a good writer. Through use of the VCOP and Big Write program, students learn about the structure of writing, and the Seven Steps program is utilised to build students’ creativity when writing. This gives students a holistic approach to written language.
The whole class focus changes each day as students focus on different elements of the VCOP and Seven Steps programs while also being introduced to different text types, a range of editing strategies, and having time for independent writing. Teachers decide on specific learning intentions and success criteria for each lesson and make these explicit to students by demonstrating and modelling what success looks like and how students can achieve success. They also use examples to show students what good writing looks like and help students to deconstruct texts into their individual elements to help students understand how to write effective texts. Students then work individually or in small groups to practise the focus skill/s by deconstructing or creating individual or shared texts. Writing tasks can include diary entries, narrative writing, persuasive writing, information report writing, poetry, handwriting clinics and much more. Teachers work with students and provide them with feedback to improve their writing. They also encourage students to set individual goals to improve their writing and help them to achieve their targets.
At the conclusion of the Writing sessions, students reflect on their learning and are encouraged to share their reflections and writing with the class. The teacher directs students’ reflections to the success criteria of the lesson. Students are encouraged to monitor their own learning by self-assessing their progress towards achieving the success criteria. This reflection time also provides the teacher with the opportunity to clarify any misunderstandings and reinforce key learning points from the lesson. The sharing of reflections and enabling students to share their writing also provides opportunities for students to develop their oral language skills and develop confidence.
Speaking and Listening
At Lyndale Greens Primary School, we are focused on providing students with opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in meaningful ways across the curriculum.
The Speaking and Listening learning domain is organised into four areas of knowledge:
• Communicating Orally (Ability to Learn Oral Language) addresses the necessary skills and their prerequisites for the acquisition of oral language.
• Purposes of Communication addresses the use of oral language within our social communications.
• Conventions of Language addresses the rules governing the sounds, sentences and genres of oral language.
• Ideas Communicated addresses the meanings of words, sentences, discourse and topics of language.
Specific skills are taught explicitly, such as identifying the main idea, paraphrasing and summarising when listening, and making eye contact and appropriate vocabulary choices when speaking to an audience.
Students have various opportunities to develop their oral language skills through working collaboratively in small groups with their peers, sharing their learning and reflections in each lesson, as well as using prepared presentations and presenting work on LG Live or at assemblies.