Literacy learning at Wangaratta Primary School underpins every facet of our school curriculum. All teachers are charged with the goal of encouraging lifelong learners and lovers of literacy. The school has an English business plan that aims to produce students who are confident and articulate speakers, attentive and active listeners, accomplished and critical readers and confident writers.
Students in the Early Years begin their literacy education with a focus on the development of oral language skills, the necessary precursor for the development of written literacy skills. Students learn about narrative, conversational conventions, vocabulary development, phonological awareness and semantics through explicit small group teaching and regular practise through games and role plays. Students then progress towards formal reading and writing through the use of an eclectic approach that includes language experiences, modelled and shared reading and writing with a focus on the development of a love of language and literature.
The school has implemented Guided Reading across all year levels, allowing all students to benefit from small group instruction tailored to meet their stage of development.
An increased emphasis on evidence-based assessment has honed curriculum delivery and resulted in significant improvements in literacy across the school.
NAPLAN results confirm high levels of achievement in all areas of the English curriculum.
The school regularly holds workshops for parents on assisting children to read, write and communicate, and encourages parents to share in classroom activities after these sessions. Classrooms celebrate English learning through bright displays of student work, sharing of work on Seesaw and articles in the school’s newsletter.
To improve our students writing and literacy skills we have introduced the Big Write and VCOP program across our school. The program is designed to bring the fun back into writing, to make the children want to write and to be continuously challenged throughout the writing journey. Through games, activities, writing tasks, cover stations and discussions, students will learn not only where their abilities lie in a fun and engaging way, but also the steps they need to make in order to continue to improve.
In the short time the program has been running at our school we have already seen an amazing improvement in our student writing and vocabulary.
At Wangaratta PS, we have a whole school approach to spelling. The Sound Waves phonemic approach uses a sound-to-letter strategy which acknowledges that sounds can be represented more than one way in written form. This synthetic phonics approach focuses first on the basic units of sound in our language – phonemes. It then explores the letters that represent these sounds and how they can be put together to form written words.
The Sound Waves program is designed for all grades, from Foundation to Grade 6, providing a key strategy to ensuring consistency of approach and results across the entire school.