- Apply the big 6 to reading instruction
- Ensure a whole class focus on one of the following each week – inference, prediction, questioning, think aloud, visualising, summarising and making connections
- Adhere to a whole school lesson structure (see below)
- Guided Reading – involves the teacher working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviours and can all read a similar text level. The teacher works on reading strategies and developing comprehension
- Book box
- Independent Reading – when children read familiar books or books/magazines/poems that are not difficult, so they can practice the reading process for fluency and comprehension
- Reading conference – the teacher works with students 1:1 to discuss reading goals, students reads to the teacher, teacher provides the student with feedback on their reading
- Book Box – students place their guided reading books and other books of interest (at easy level) the book box is used during independent reading time
- Classroom Libraries – are in every classroom at KDPS. They provide a literacy rich environment and choice for independent reading time
- Students are encouraged to take their reading books home daily to practice skills with parents or carers at home. The books children bring home are at an easy reading level.
Big Write and VCOP whole school approach
What is VCOP and Big Write?
VCOP and Big Write is teaching approach based on the research of Ros Wilson, an expert based in the UK. It focuses on four main aspects of the writing process (VCOP) and provides children with the skills to improve their own writing through self-assessment.
V is for Vocabulary
It is important that children begin to think carefully about the vocabulary they choose and the effect that it has on the reader. We promote the use of “WOW” words in writing. These are words that are ambitious for the children to use; they can ‘upgrade’ their nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs. Wow words are words that also known as ambitious vocabulary, this is based on the students’ age and ability. For example the word ‘amazing’ used in a Prep writing piece would be considered to be a wow word, where it would not in a Grade 5/6 student. Students share their wow words with their class by adding them to VCOP display and encourage each other to use these words where appropriate in their writing.
C is for Connectives:
Connective is the name for any word that links clauses or sentences together. Students use connectives (joining words) to change their simple sentences into complex sentence. Children are encouraged to use these in their writing.
O is for Openers:
An opener is the first word or phrase used in a sentence. There are lots of different ways of opening sentences. When children start on their writing journey, most sentences initially begin with ‘I, they, he/she, then’. Students are encouraged to use varied openers to ensure their writing doesn’t appear ‘boring’. For example, instead of starting each sentence with ‘she’, students can change the sentence, “She climbed the mountain.” to “Slowly, she climbed the mountain.”
P is for Punctuation:
Children are taught the names of the different types of punctuation and they learn to use them in their writing. Using a wide variety of punctuation is important to add variety and interest to your child’s writing. We provide the children with lots of examples of where punctuation is used effectively and model how to use them. The pyramid below shows differentiation in punctuation. It starts at the top with basic punctuation and progresses down to using complex skills such as speech marks and brackets.
VCOP Strategy Sessions
Each learning community selects one of the VCOP strategies to focus on per fortnight. During the fortnight the students engage in a variety of interactive games and activities to support understanding of the element and how to use it in writing.
Big Write is a celebration of students’ learning. This is conducted once a fortnight. The biggest difference between Big Write and the ‘everyday’ writing session is the environment. Students are not allowed to talk to each other and the teacher takes this time to conference with students one to one and look at their individual goals. Prior to most Big Write sessions, ‘Talk Homework’ is sent home to allow the students opportunities to talk about their writing.
‘Talk Homework’ is sent home the evening before a Big Write session to allow the students opportunities to talk about their writing, gain ideas from family and friends and to assist in making the most out of their Big Write session. Big write is based on the premise that; ‘If they can’t say it, they can’t write it.’ Talk with adults about diverse subjects introduces the children to new vocabulary and sentence structures.
Writing to ‘uplevel’
Students participate in an editing process where they self assess the VCOP elements they have used. They use coloured highlighters to highlight the word/phrase choices (Vocuabulary – yellow, Connectives – Pink, Openers – blue, punctuation – green). This provides students with a visual representation of their word and phrase choices. Children are then able to make relevant changes to ‘uplevel’ their piece of writing.
THRASS (Teaching Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Skills)
At KDPS we implement the THRASS process for explicitly teaching Spelling, Handwriting, which also supports Reading skills. Each learning community implements the THRASS process to suit each students age and stage of learning.
English words are produced using a combination of 44 individual speech sounds called ‘phonemes’. These phonemes can be represented in writing using the 26 letters of the English alphabet, either individually or combined with other letters. There are numerous spelling choices (graphemes) for each phoneme.
For example, in English the letter ‘c’ does not just represent the sound ( c ) as heard at the beginning of words like cat. It can represent the sound ( s ) as in the words city, cent, Cindy etc. The sound ( f ) is not just represented by the letter ‘f’ but can be represented by the letters ‘ph’, as in photo.
Knowing the 44 sounds of English and the various spelling choices that can represent these sounds enables students to understand the spelling system (orthography) of our language.
Speaking and Listening
Each learning community at KDPS ensures;
- A language rich environment using books, text displays, word walls, story boards
- Opportunities to participate in talk within formal and informal situations
- Book and story talk when introducing texts
- Making connection from the known to the unknown
- Students are encouraged to listen, discuss and develop their own ideas in co-operation with others
- Opportunities for collaboration and team work