Thank you for taking the time to find out a little bit more about how we teach literacy at Gulf Harbour School. From the day your children enter our school we teach them that reading and writing are important tools for learning. No matter if they are in Year 1 or in Year 6, they gather information and enjoy new worlds through reading. At the same time your children record new information, communicate ideas and express their creativity in their writing lessons. The Treasure Chest, our school blog, provides ample evidence of the wonderful writing outcomes throughout the school.
Our youngest learners learn that letters are pictures for sounds. They learn to listen for the sounds that make up words and to put them together to write words themselves. Phonics work that promote these skills is done daily in all junior classrooms. At this stage you will also find that your child learns to read and write words, called sight words or high frequency words. A growing repertoire of these words will speed up the reading and writing process, while other words still need to be sounded out.
In the first 3 years we use the Reading Rocket program which is a carefully scaffolded series of readers with increasing complexity and difficulty. Each new reading level is celebrated until the child leaves the so called “colour wheel” behind.
Good readers use a variety of strategies to decode a text, make meaning and gain information. They can decode quickly and read texts without losing meaning. Our students learn how to use comprehension strategies such as predicting, questioning or inferencing, as they read more and more complex and sophisticated texts, such as School Journals and chapter books. We want our students to read for enjoyment, to read as researchers and as critical thinkers, when they leave our school at the end of Year 6.
How can you help at home?
Early writers plan their texts by drawing a picture or talking about their ideas. They might only record the beginning sounds of the words they want to create. Very soon you will see that your child’s writing becomes more complex, as they use longer strings of combined letter sounds to make unknown words, and the sight words they have learnt to create longer texts.
Every school year our students learn more about texts, their purpose and how to address a specific audience. They are taught to identify more and more sophisticated language features in texts and apply their knowledge as readers, when they write. The same applies to their knowledge and competence regarding grammar and spelling.