English is an integral part of all areas of the curriculum. The English program at Apollo Parkways Primary School aims to develop student's speaking and listening, reading and viewing and writing skills. At Apollo our literacy sessions begin with a whole class focus and shared activity, often including the teacher modelling reading and writing skills to the students. Following this children work in small groups where they practise and consolidate their own skills. Lessons conclude with a sharing of the children's learning.
Students are exposed to a variety of texts during the literacy session that foster enjoyment, purpose, understanding and confidence. The library is a key facility in supporting the literacy program. It houses many resources to assist the children in developing their language and research skills. Students have the opportunity to borrow books during their library sessions.
Early Years Literacy
The Early Years Literacy Program is a strategic and comprehensive approach to teaching English based on the recognition that all students should succeed in literacy by the end of their third year of schooling. In Prep to Grade 4 classrooms, students work in small groups of students with like needs during structured reading and writing sessions. Reading texts, and reading and writing activities are matched to the student's individual learning needs.
In Grade 5 and 6, lessons follow a similar structure to those used in the Early Years. Middle Years strategies such as Reciprocal Teaching and Literature Circles are utilised as the focus moves from learning to read to reading to learn. The 1 to 1 iPad program also enables children to effectively develop their skills with digital texts.
Assessment may take the form of anecdotal records, work samples or assessment tasks. It is ongoing and informs teachers about students' progress and their learning needs.
Teachers prepare school reports that are sent home to parents in June and December. Student portfolios that are shared by students and teachers with parents at our Student Learning Conversations provide samples of children's work to demonstrate their progress and achievement.
DET requirements include the participation of Grade 3 and Grade 5 students in NAPLAN (National Assessment Program Literacy & Numeracy). Results are provided to the parents toward the end of term 3 and/or early term four.
Students in Grades 3 to Grade 6 also have the opportunity to take part in the International Competition & Assessment for Schools - English and Mathematics.
Take Home Reading
Regular home reading is expected at all levels of the school with parents playing a vital role in laying the foundations for learning to read. Home reading gives children the opportunity to practise and demonstrate their reading skills to others. The selection of appropriate material for this purpose is vital. In Prep to Grade 4 students select take home books from our school's structured and leveled take home reading program. These books are matched to the student's reading level to provide them with a balance between necessary support and small challenges. In Grades 5 and 6 students borrow take home books from the school library, regional library or use other suitable material. Students in all grades have a Home Reading Diary or Communication Diary, where they enter the reading they have completed at home. The student's class teacher checks these diaries on a regular basis.
In Grade 1 and 2 there is a companion program called Guided Home Reading. Children who are identified as benefiting from additional support are provided with this more structured home reading program. Parents are required to support this at home. Three books are sent home each week and there are questions included that parents ask to assist with their child's developing comprehension. Our Assistant Principal, Reading Intervention teacher and Language Support teacher, developed this supportive program.
Recognising High Frequency words is a focus for Prep homework. These words assist children with their reading skills and parents are asked to assist their child at home to learn these leveled coloured sets of words.
Take Home Spelling
In Grade 1 and at the beginning of Grade 2 our focus is on children learning to spell a large bank of commonly used words. The Oxford Wordlist (OWL words) are the words children in Australia commonly record in their writing and are therefore a very important bank of words to learn. Later in Grade 2 the focus moves to sound patterns and students work on leveled list of words that share common sounds and letter patterns. Parents are asked to assist their child to learn these words as part of the homework.
This interactive web based program is offered to children at all levels of the school as a resource to practice spelling at home. Parents are encouraged to take up the offer at the beginning of each year and children are then provided with a log in that can be used at school and home.
Parental involvement is highly valued at all levels of the school both in assisting children at home and as classroom helpers. Many parents work in the classrooms to support students, either individually or in small groups, in the reading and writing programs. Classroom Helpers programs are offered to provide parents with skills to assist their children with reading, writing and spelling, at home and also in the classroom.