At Waverley Meadows Primary School we offer a comprehensive and challenging English program which promotes literacy skill development in reading, writing, spelling, speaking and listening in a supportive and stimulating environment. 

Teachers plan for comprehensive daily literacy lessons which are based on the Victorian Curriculum and guided by student ability, need and interest. Assessment practices across the school are designed to pinpoint student learning strengths and requirements in order that individual students can be supported appropriately. 

We use a Reader’s Workshop Model for teaching reading. The model consists of three parts:

  • Mini-lesson – using a sample text 
    • introduction of the topic 
    • explicit teaching and modelling of reading strategies
    • shared practise of reading strategies 
  • Independent reading time
    • independent practise of reading strategies using their own chosen books
    • completing tasks relating to the mini-lesson 
    • working on personal reading goals
    • using a reader’s notebook to write reflections as they apply reading strategies
    • using sticky notes to track their use of various reading strategies 
    • utilising classroom libraries to select ‘just-right’ texts
    • focus groups work with the teacher for guided reading
    • individual students meet with the teacher for conferencing and setting personal reading goals
    • individual student assessment of reading progress
    • partner work to discuss texts   
    • Literature circles
  • Closing
    • students share how they used reading strategies
    • sharing of completed tasks
    • discussion about specific books or reading activities
    • asking and answering questions related to a text or a reading strategy

Individual classroom libraries are complemented by our lovely whole school library. Students visit the library once a week with their class for exploring books with their teacher and classmates and to borrow books to take home each week. 

Writing lessons are designed to teach children the way language is used for a variety of social purposes. They learn to recognise the structures of various genres when reading texts and how to break these down in order to organise their writing according to the genre being developed. Increasingly complex genres are added at each year level, as students become more proficient in their writing abilities.  

Genres taught include:

  • Narrative – story telling
  • Recount – telling what happened 
  • Procedure – telling how to do something
  • Explanation – telling how or why things are or how things work
  • Exposition/persuasive – putting forward an argument or point of view
  • Information Report – presenting information about something 
  • Poetry – a wide variety of styles with many purposes and forms
  • Descriptions – describes the characteristics and features of a particular thing
  • Discussions – information or opinions about more than one side of an issue
  • Responses – reviews or personal summaries, analyses or feelings about written texts or media

During writing lessons, students follow the five step writing process

  1. Pre writing – thinking about it 
    • Choosing topics
    • Brainstorming ideas
    • Organising information 
  2. Drafting – writing it
    • Choosing your best idea to write about
    • Planning how you will write it
    • Write the first draft
  3. Revising – making it better
    • Carefully reading what you have written
    • Changing words, sentences, or ideas to better ones
    • Add or take out parts 
  4. Editing – make it correct
    • Read it again
    • Check for complete sentences, spelling, capitals and punctuation
    • Make corrections
    • Have someone else check it
  5. Publishing – share it with others
    • Make a neat copy 
    • Add pictures, diagrams, titles and other enhancements
    • Present to an audience 

Spelling is taught using the SMART spelling system. SMART spelling  incorporates the systematic teaching of spelling each week and student’s personal word lists. SMART spelling is designed to be sensible, systematic, multi-sensory and sustainable. Spelling rules  

  • S (say)- say the word aloud
  • M (meaning) – what does it mean, say it in a sentence
  • A (analyse) – find the syllables, sounds, letters, patterns
  • R (remember) – write the word, remember the tricky parts
  • T (teach) – tell it to someone aloud using letter names and clustering

Foundation (prep) students are taught using synthetic phonics to first learn to recognise sounds and be able to match these to letters and then blend them together. The children are taught how to break up words (decode them) into individual sounds and then blend all the way through the word. Sounds are introduced in an order that enables them to decode more words sooner, rather than in alphabetical order. 

Students are also introduced to the M100W words (100 most used words) which are broken into coloured sets according to the frequency with which they appear in texts. Once students can recognise all of the golden and red words, they can read 25% of all written texts.  

Oral language development is embedded throughout all curriculum areas and follows the Speaking and Listening component of the Victorian Curriculum. Being able to actively listen to others and respond in meaningful ways enhances the social capabilities of students as well as enabling them to contribute effectively during class discussions.  

Digital technologies are incorporated into our English programs with students accessing planning and publishing software, digital text subscriptions, online assessment tools, research sites and various programs to support their learning.  

Reading intervention and literacy support is provided through our Personalised Learning Approach. 

Parents are encouraged to become involved in classroom reading programs as helpers who can listen to and encourage children to read.