At Boronia Heights Primary School, we have developed a Literacy Program that develops Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening skills. Our English Scope and Sequence is based on the Victorian Curriculum, as well as innovative approaches to teaching literacy based on current research. We foster a love of literacy through our CAFÉ Reading, VOICES Writing and Jolly Learning Programs.
At Boronia Heights, the teaching of reading is based on the CAFÉ Reading Program. This is an evidence-based approach to teaching reading that aims to develop a love of reading through the use of the “CAFÉ Menu”. CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary. These are the four key areas of reading instruction and learning. Modelled and shared reading is used by teachers to explicitly target whole class needs focusing on the CAFE menu. Sustained Reading time allows for students to put into practice skills which have been explicitly taught during whole class or small group sessions. During Sustained Reading teachers work one-on-one with students to perform Reading Conferences at their point of need. The CAFÉ Reading Program facilitates the development of confident, independent readers by teaching students to:
- Select ‘just right’ books
- Monitor for meaning, understanding and fluency
- Become critical thinkers and develop awareness of their thinking during reading
- Gain confidence when reading
- Know when, why, and how to apply specific strategies to maintain and further understand
BHPS follows a whole school approach to writing, explicitly teaching the different components of quality writing using the 6 traits plus 1 of writing with the acronym VOICES: Voice, Organisation, Ideas, Conventions, Expanding Vocabulary, Sentence Fluency and Presentation. By using good literature as a starting point, teachers explicitly teach the craft of writing so all students develop a knowledge of strategies for creating quality texts and build their understanding of the conventions of written English.
Students use a Writer’s Notebook to record and expand their ideas for writing. They spend time practicing writing for their own purposes and audiences as well as using the strategies modelled by the teacher.
The Jolly Phonics and Grammar program follows a systematic approach to teaching phonics, spelling and grammar. At Boronia Heights Primary School, we have adopted this program in Prep to Year 6 due to its evidence-based approach.
Jolly Phonics is a multi-sensory synthetic phonics program which makes learning to read and write achievable for all children. Jolly Phonics incorporates actions, jingles and stories for each of the 42 sounds which makes learning fun. Jolly Phonics teaches children the five essential skills needed for reading and writing. These skills are:
- Learning the letter sounds
- Learning letter formation
- Identifying sounds in words
- Tricky words
Jolly Grammar is the next stage of the Jolly Phonics program. Jolly Grammar is an all-rounded program that involves the systematic teaching of spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. Jolly Grammar enables children to develop accuracy in spelling and writing through the use of colours and actions. The Jolly Grammar program explores:
- Spelling rules
- Parts of speech
- Dictionary use
- The tenses: past, present and future
Speaking and Listening
Oral language is a vital element in literacy development. Students regularly engage in activities that improve their ability to communicate through explicit instruction on what successful listening and speaking looks like. Fluent oral language allows students to think through their ideas, actions and reasoning, and therefore articulate effectively when reading and writing. We support students to develop comprehensive speaking and listening skills that foster the development of all forms of communication. We use a range of engaging visual prompts and explicit modelling to prompt students to listen to others and express their own understandings
The connection between School and Home
At home, you can have a huge impact on your child’s mindset toward Literacy, and the partnership and relationship between school and home is crucial.
You can support your child/ren’s learning at home by modelling Literacy skills in a positive way, and by making the experience fun and enjoyable for everyone. Students who enter the classroom with a positive outlook towards English skills allows for an open-minded mindset making a huge difference to their learning. Modelling a positive attitude to children from a young age and working with the school in supporting a love for learning is vital in building the foundations for students to become independent lifelong learners who can problem solve and think critically in literacy.
Ways to engage with your child in literacy at home:
- Reading stories together and asking questions
- Writing for purposes (letters to family/friends, shopping lists etc)
- Discussing age-appropriate current events
- Role playing games
- Board Games
- Exposure to different types of texts – Fiction, Non fiction, newspaper articles, menus, shopping lists etc