Koondrook Primary School aims to develop all students’ literacy skills in the areas of reading, writing, spelling, speaking and listening and thinking.
In Grade P-2, students learn how sounds in English are represented and use their knowledge to gain meaning from print. They practise reading and writing a variety of text types to achieve fluency and develop comprehension strategies.
In Grade 3-4, students continue to build on their literacy skills through a range of whole class and small group activities in order to become successful readers and writers.
In Grade 5-6, students consolidate and build on their knowledge and skills related to language and texts. They become independent readers and writers who take more responsibility for their learning.
An Intervention Program is available for Grade 1 students who need extra support in developing their literacy skills. This program enables the Grade 1 students to work individually with the intervention teacher.
6+1 Traits of Writing
The 6+1 Traits of Writing is a program designed to help students become better writers.
The 6+1 Traits of Writing Model of Instruction and Assessment is a research-based tool to develop high quality writing skills in our students. The writing process (i.e. pre-write, first draft, revise, edit, and publish) is taught as our main focus lessons in writing. These lessons still need to be taught, but to develop proficient writers we also need to incorporate the 6+1 traits as well. These traits empower our students with strategies that are specific to each genre and/or purpose for writing.
What are the 6+1 Traits?
• Ideas—the meaning and development of the message
• Organisation—the internal structure of the piece
• Voice—the personal tone and flavour of the author's message
• Word Choice—the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning
• Sentence Fluency—the rhythm and flow of the text
• Conventions—the mechanical correctness of the piece
• Presentation—the overall appearance of the author's work
We use the SMART Spelling program at KPS. What is SMART Spelling? A sensible, systematic approach to spelling. We teach in patterns as much as possible, so teachers choose a range of words (from simple to complex) from a suggested list. Students are then guided to choose from that list, to meet different needs. Teachers give meaningful feedback to students about their spelling in writing, teaching at the point of need.
• Spelling is taught through spelling patterns and regularity.
• It is based around whole words with an emphasis on meaning and vocabulary development.
• Spelling rules are taught in the context of words in a way that builds on learning from prior years. There are only 4!
• SMART is an acronym for the sequence teachers follow to teach words to students (Say, Meaning, Analyse, Remember, Teach).
The teacher explicitly models a short focussed lesson on a comprehension strategy. The comprehension strategies identified as the most important strategies to improve students’ comprehension of text include: Prediction/Prior Knowledge, Questions and Questioning, Think-aloud, Text Structures and Features, Visualising and Summarisation.
The students select and read a ‘Just Right’ book, (Just Right – able to be read with 90%+ accuracy) from the classroom library and practise the skills/knowledge demonstrated in the mini lesson, as well as previous lessons, and work on their individual reading goal. Students might use their Reading Journal to record their thinking.
While the majority of the grade works independently, the teacher brings together a small group to explicitly teach effective reading strategies for fiction and/or information texts. The teacher selects teaching points based on readers’ needs, (identified through assessment and conferences with individual children), and sometimes assigns oral and/or written response tasks.
Individual Student Conferences
At the conclusion of the guided practice group, the teacher will conference with individual students who have been reading independently, engaging in a conversation with the student about their reading. The conference enables the teacher to understand each student’s reading progress and to help the individual student refine and extend his/her reading competence. The conference ends with an agreed reading goal the student will practice for the next few lessons or until achieved. The information gathered from the conferences informs the teaching for future lessons.
The group share is related to the mini-lesson. Group share reinforces students’ reading and extends their thinking as they benefit from the thoughts and ideas of others.
The teacher explicitly teaches a specific writing principle or procedure. These include:
Strategy and skill mini-lessons help students learn how to use the conventional rules of written language accurately and effectively.
Craft mini-lessons show students how to improve the quality of their writing over time through explicitly showing them what makes good writing.
The students write for a designated time and apply new knowledge from the mini-lesson to individual writing. Students explore topics, draft, revise, edit and publish.
While the majority of the grade works independently, the teacher brings together a small group for a lesson based on particular interests or needs. The teacher explicitly works with students to teach the writer’s craft, strategies and skills.
Individual Student Conferences
At the conclusion of the guided practice group, the teacher will conference with individual students who have been writing independently. The purpose of a writing conference is to help students help students extend their writing strategies, listen to students talk about their writing, evaluate students’ progress in writing and to assist students to set writing goals. The information gathered from the conferences informs the teaching for future writing lessons.
The group share is related to the mini-lesson. Group share reinforces students’ writing and extends their thinking as they benefit from the thoughts and ideas of others.
Speaking & Listening
Speaking and Listening is the key to all communication and is the precursor to writing and reading. At Koondrook Primary School, students are given many opportunities both formally and informally to participate in opportunities to be a speaker and a listener. In Grades 3-6 students can participate in the Lions' Club Public Speaking Competition.
Students participate in individual, small group and large group opportunities to express their thoughts and ideas.
A Speech Pathology Service is provided by the Swan Hill Support Services. All Foundation (Prep) students are screened through a language assessment during the first Semester. The Speech Pathologist currently visits the school fortnightly on a Monday.