English

English is essential to all aspects of a child's development. Our students come from diverse backgrounds and bring understandings and skills that reflect their experiences in their homes and communities. Our challenge is to share, strengthen and build on the language and literacy capabilities of all students to increase their preparedness to participate in all aspects of life, both in and beyond school. English language learning is a continuous, lifelong process.

Our English program focuses on the development of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing and Writing skills. Each student has the opportunity to develop effective skills in all areas of English. In recognition of this, our commitment to students and parents is that students will have access to contemporary resources that support literacy learning and will learn in an environment where their individual needs are recognised and catered for. Students will receive additional support if they are not making expected progress at any point throughout their schooling. Students will be presented with challenging opportunities if they are exceeding their expected progress and parents and carers will receive regular updates on their child’s progress in literacy as part of school and national assessments. Parents and carers will also have the opportunity to be involved in the school’s literacy programs.
The main focus in the Early Years is to establish firm foundation skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, the literacy skills essential for success in all learning areas. Our students in Foundation to Year 2 have a daily two hour literacy session.

Reading

Learning to read is a complex process. During their first year of school, children are prepared for learning formal skills. Just as babies walk and talk at different ages, so it is that children are ready to read at different times. This is an individual matter for each child.
It is vital that you read with/to your child, talking about the pictures and pointing to the words as you read. Sharing this time of discovering how to read is most exciting. Do not miss these moments with your child!
Remember that reading a book independently will occur later as your child learns to recognise and remember words readily in many contexts. The MiniLit program is offered to prioritised Year 1 students identified as needing support in reading.
The main approaches used to teach reading include:

  •     Reading TO children
  •     Reading WITH children - Shared reading
  •     Reading BY children - Reading aloud
  •     Language Experiences

As the skills of students improve they are provided with the opportunity to read an increasing range of materials including imaginative texts such as chapter books, novels and poems, as well as informative texts, in print and electronic form. Students use a range of strategies to interpret the main ideas and purpose of texts – for example, interpreting figurative language or linking information from headings – and explore characters’ qualities, motives and actions. Through discussion, students develop their understanding of why interpretations of a text may vary, and how the choice of subject matter is influenced by context, the author’s purpose, and the intended audience. Students read more critically and learn about the use of some simple symbolic meanings and stereotypes in texts.

Writing

Writing is a way of communicating through a process of constructing messages and representing ideas, feelings and information in print. Writing includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting and learning about many different text types. During the writing process, the children plan, compose, record, revise and publish.
The main approaches used to teach writing include:

  •     Demonstrating Writing IN FRONT of children - Modelled Writing
  •     Writing WITH children - Shared Writing
  •     Writing BY Children
  •     Language Experiences

Students develop strategies for writing to assist in planning and organising ideas prior to writing, and adapt their writing to suit their audience and purpose. They learn to use a range of resources, including information and communications technology, to revise written work and check spelling.

 

VCOP Big Write

VCOP is a writing program designed to engage students in writing through a range of fun, interactive games and discussions. The idea of the Big Write is ‘that if children can’t say it, they can’t write it’. We encourage the students to discuss their writing topics in class and at home so they are prepared to write the following day.

 

VCOP is focused teaching on the following:

Vocabulary - teaches a range of ‘wow’ words (ambitious words the child’s age)

Connectives – teaches a wide range of words and phrases for connecting thoughts, ideas and sentences. This may include; although, however, but

Openersteaches a wide range of opening sentences, including sequence words, linking words and phrases. Also known as ‘sizzling starts’

Punctuation – teaches a wide range of punctuation to enhance meaning. Students aim to ‘move down the punctuation pyramid’ and include examples of a range of punctuation.

 

Write to Read Phonogram Program

 

The Write to Read Program is focused on teaching students the skills essential to read and spell successfully. It is based on the understanding that;

  • The English language is a ‘coded’ language.
  • Words are made up of sounds which are represented by written symbols (codes).
  • There are seventy basic written codes in the English language.
  • There are rules which help to read or write words correctly

Students learn the codes sequentially beginning from  Foundation to Year 6, where they first learn the sounds for each of the 70 phonograms and then the associated rules. Students are tested on words and these results determine what spelling list your child is working from.

 Both these programs are used in conjunction with other programs including the Seven Steps to Writing Success and the Writer’s Notebook to provide students with the necessary skills to read and write successfully.

 

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening take place throughout the entire school day, across ALL activities. Students recognise that speaking and listening provide opportunities to exchange information, to share and explore ideas, and to express opinions and listen to the opinions of others. They participate in discussions, conversations and presentations in small and large groups, learning to vary their speaking and listening to suit the context, purpose and audience. In spontaneous, planned and rehearsed situations they learn how to project their voice adequately for an audience and to use appropriate spoken language features such as sequence and past tense when recounting an event. When speaking, they recognise the need to rephrase statements to clarify meaning and information.

Students develop skills in listening attentively during class and group discussions, and to factual spoken texts such as audio, film and invited presentations. They practise identifying the topic, retelling information accurately, asking clarifying questions, volunteering information and justifying opinions.

Teacher provides opportunities for the children to use appropriate ways to greet each other, to listen, to wait and to take turns in conversation. Our programs provide opportunities for students to expand their vocabulary and their understanding of how our spoken language works (i.e. correct grammar.) through demonstration and models of words and language patterns beyond what they already know.

The students are encouraged to join in class and group discussions so that they learn and practise the skills necessary to be effective speakers and listeners. All students have the opportunity to enter the annual Mount Pleasant Road Public Speaking Competition. Winners from each Learning Centre will particpate in a competition hosted by MPR against local schools.

Students in Year 5 & 6 participate in eight week programs,  run by a toastmaster, to hone their public speaking and debating skills (alternate years) and to represent our school at the Whitehorse Rotary Competition and Debating Victoria interschool competitions.

Further Information

If you would  like further information regarding our school or kindergarten; you can contact us by phone or email as listed on our contact page. Or feel free to browse our website.