At Essendon Primary School, Literacy is a core subject essential to all learning domains. Students experience a daily two-hour literacy block of learning that encompasses reading, writing, spelling and speaking & listening.

Our whole school literacy approach, is framed on the research of Marie Clay, Irene Fountas and Gay Pinnell (F&P) and the Balanced Literacy Approach. This ensures consistency of teaching practice and learning development from Foundation to Year 6.

We recognise that Reading is a complex process in which the reader actively constructs meaning. The reader draws on cognitive and linguistic strategies, as well as a range of information, both within and outside of the text, to process the language and develop meaning and understanding. Students develop reading comprehension skills and strategies that enable them to comprehend increasingly challenging texts in all learning domains.

The EPS Reading Workshop involves explicit teaching of specific reading strategies and skills, providing scaffolding for students as they make the transition from emergent through to independent readers.

There are 6 components to the EPS Reading Workshop:
  1. Interactive Read Aloud - teachers model correct reading strategies and behaviours to the students.
  2. Guided Reading/Literature Circles - teachers work with a group of students at their instructional level. These groups are formed using data provided by F&P reading benchmark assessments.
  3. Shared Reading - students and teacher read together, providing the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what the student’s reading needs are.
  4. Independent Reading - allows students time to actively practice applying the new reading strategies and skills they have been learning.
  5. Word Study/Spelling - links reading to spelling. Learning about letters and sounds (phonetics) through to exploring root words, suffixes, prefixes and learning how to derive meaning from words.
  6. Reading conferences - these take place regularly between the teacher and individual students. These enable the teacher to have a genuine conversation with the student about their reading, text selection and to monitor their progress in achieving their personal learning goals.

Our EPS Writing Workshop provides a clear whole school approach to enhance teaching and learning practices and improve student outcomes. Modelled or shared writing begins the writing session. Teachers demonstrate and explicitly teach the text type being studied, with associated text features, structures and vocabulary. Students are given the opportunity to practise what has been modelled. Students are taken through the Writing Process, where they select texts to publish and share with different audiences.

The Writing ProcessWriting Process
  1. Planning: the generation, selection and sorting of ideas to write about.
  2. Drafting: the recording of ideas with attention to meaning, grammar, spelling, punctuation and handwriting (or keyboarding).
  3. Revising: the revisiting of the text (often as a result of feedback from peers and/or the teacher) to improve and enhance the writing.
  4. Editing and proofreading: the polishing of the draft in readiness for publication, which includes editing for spelling, text layout, grammar, capitalisation and punctuation.
  5. Publishing: the final publication of the text ready for sharing with an audience, with attention given to the form and style of the text.

Genre (text types)
English identifies a range of genres that our students write as part of their work in English and integrated across the curriculum. The key genres primary aged students typically write are:Genre
  • narrative
  • recount
  • procedure
  • information report
  • explanation
  • persuasion
Each genre can also take different forms. For example, a narrative could be a: ballard, fable or a fairy tale.

Spelling & word studyspelling
Students develop knowledge about the sounds (phonemes) of English and learn to identify them in spoken words. They learn the letters of the alphabet and how to represent spoken words by using combinations of these letters. They learn that the conventions, patterns and generalisations that relate to English spelling involve the origins of words, word endings, Greek and Latin roots, base words and affixes.

At EPS all teachers plan for and deliver 10 - 15 minutes per day of explicit Spelling/Word Study instruction within the Literacy block. While the explicit teaching of spelling and vocabulary occurs primarily within the Literacy block, all curriculum areas have a role to play in reinforcing, promoting and contributing to this learning. The THRASS pedagogy is the chosen teacher reference tool for teaching the phonographic and orthography of English.

Speaking & Listening
Teachers recognise that speaking and listening, like writing, is used in formal and informal ways. The degree of formality used in an oral language interaction is dependent upon the subject matter to be discussed, the relationship between the participants and the way the interaction will occur.
Oral language - involves expressive and receptive skills.
Expressive language - encompasses the words and actions used to convey meaning, including tone, volume, pauses and inflections.
Receptive language - is the understanding of language expressed by others. Expressive and receptive oral language are often referred to as ‘speaking and listening’.

We understand that every student is an individual and a unique learner. Every student has his or her own strengths, challenges and rate of development. It is within this context, that individual learning plans and targets are developed inclusive of the teacher, student and parent. Sometimes it is appropriate to provide targeted short-term literacy support to individual students to support their ongoing development. This is organised on a needs basis and provided by our Literacy Support teacher.