Durack State School's multicultural nature has long demanded a strong focus on literacy and required the school to develop a systematic approach to the teaching of reading, writing, listening and speaking. English plays a key role in the learning and development of reading and literacy skills of all our students. It helps create confident communicators and supports our students to develop the knowledge and skills needed to analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships.
Our classrooms are engaged in delivering the objectives of the Australian Curriculum English. Where possible, the teachers plan a Literacy Block of 90-120 minutes each day which will include modelled, shared, guided and independent reading and writing lessons. Each learning area of the curriculum has unique language structures and vocabulary and it is essential that these are taught in the context in which they are used. All teachers are responsible for teaching the language and literacy demands of learning areas such as Science, Mathematics, Geography and History.
Important elements of our English curriculum
An Inclusive approach to the teaching of English
Teachers provide differentiated teaching and make adjustments to learning activities to support the learning needs of students as a regular part of the curriculum provision. A whole-school approach to support students with specific language and learning needs may also be provided by Special Education staff, Support Teachers Literacy and Numeracy (STLaN), the English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) teacher and teacher aides.
Early years oral language program
The Prep Oral Language program aims to build everyday vocabulary and early literacy skills so that students are able to answer questions, retell stories and respond to texts. Working as a whole class or activities to build English language patterns and vocabulary.
Robust vocabulary SOS
Vocabulary is important! Students who know more words find it easier to learn to read with fluency and comprehension and also find the task of writing easier to learn. At Durack SS, we encourage vocabulary development in the early years with our program: Vocab SOS.
All students in years 1-3 participate in daily whole class lessons investigating interesting 'power words' in the stories and texts they read. Through structured activities and games, the program helps our students:
- Become curious about and interested in words
- Develop a wider vocabulary (knowing more words)
- Develop deeper understanding of power words (knowing more about words)
- Use power words in sensational sentences and throughout the day when talking and writing.
Explicit teaching of phonics
Teaching the connection between sounds and the letter combinations that represent these sounds or phonics is an essential part of teaching students to read. Our teachers use a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics which starts with explicit instruction in Prep and continues in all year levels as students learn and use the sounds they hear to read and write. Phonics is also an essential part of our spelling program.
The Words Their Way program is a hands on word study approach that explicitly teaches spelling at the students' developmental spelling level. Students learn the sounds that are represented by letter patterns and sort words into groups. They identify words with similar spelling features by comparing and contrasting word patterns and sounds.
Reading comprehension and decoding strategies
Reading lessons are designed to teach students the skills and strategies they need to read with accuracy and most importantly to understand what they read. Teachers help our students to use comprehension strategies to understand and think about their reading and decoding strategies to correctly recognise the words they read. Teachers select resources to explicitly teach the use of these strategies and students practise using the strategies during guided reading sessions.
You can contribute to your child's learning in language by sharing and discussing the home readers or self-selected library books they bring home. The home readers will be at your child's reading level. Your child's reading development is regularly assessed by how well they read, recall and understand the stories at a particular reading level.
For further information regarding how you can help you child with reading at home refer to the DSS Supporting Children to Read information in your child's communication book or check with your child's teacher about other ways you can assist your child.
For more tips, translated fact sheets and online resources about literacy and numeracy, visit the EQ website.
Teachers at Durack State School use the Seven Steps to Writing Steps as a resource to teach writing. The seven steps is a unique system which groups writing into seven main techniques. Student learn the writing techniques in small parts and practise the new skills until they have mastered them. Student are encouraged to brainstorm ideas and plan their work before attempting whole writing tasks.
Building capacity of our teachers and teacher aides
It is important to us that our teachers continue to build their knowledge and expertise to deliver the literacy program and teacher aides support teachers and students through ongoing professional development.