Elsternwick Primary school is well resourced with a rich and varied collection of reading materials. During 2017 Elsternwick PS has been fortunate to have professional development with renowned Literacy educational consultant Diane Snowball. Developing Classroom Libraries is a focus in 2017 with new shelving purchased for all classrooms to house a huge selection of texts and spaces created designed to engage all children as independent readers.
A range of teaching strategies are used within the daily Reading block which includes a focus mini lesson followed by application of the skill taught during independent reading or in guided groups. Mini lessons may include shared reading experiences, read a-louds, modelled reading, interactive reading and focus teaching of comprehension strategies using a range of traditional and digital texts.
Teaching conferences with individual students are held regularly to set reading goals, discuss reading progress, provide on the spot teaching and check the range of text types read. Assessment using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking system tracks the progress and growth of reading levels and comprehension skills. This data is used when planning to ensure students’ point of learning needs are the basis for construction of teaching sequences and that comprehension and fluency underpin classroom work.
The teaching of Writing at Elsternwick Primary School is based on a range of research into best practice.
The ‘6 + 1 Traits of Writing’ by Ruth Culham is the main text referenced by teachers and the pedagogical application of this work is embedded in teacher practice and supported through professional development sessions with writing consultant, Brenda Leonard.
Writer’s Notebooks are also a feature in most year levels as a tool for students to gather, keep and develop Ideas. Teachers use ‘Mentor Texts’ to engage their students and support them to notice the author’s craft related to the focus lesson. Throughout their primary school years, EPS students progressively take more ownerhip and responsibility for their writing, making decisions about the style of their writing depending on its purpose and the intended audience.
Speaking and Listening are embedded in most classroom activities. As students progress through the school they learn to become active listeners, listening for particular purposes and to use a variety of strategies when engaging in group and class discussions. Students learn the skills of collaborating, listening for key points and using this information to carry out tasks. They learn to express their opinions and respectfully consider others’ opinions. Students begin to ask clarifying questions and challenge others’ ideas. They plan for and create detailed spoken texts, elaborating on key ideas for a range of purposes and audiences.