Literacy at Dianella Heights
Literacy at Dianella Heights Primary, we believe that effective reading instruction is based on six critical components:
- Phonological Awareness.
- Sight Words.
Our structured reading program includes:
- Explicit teaching of phonological awareness and phonics.
- Rote learning of sight / high frequency words.
- Guided practice to improve fluency.
- Vocabulary development.
- Explicit teaching of the 12 comprehension strategies (CARS & STARS).
- Explicit teaching of comprehension questioning techniques (Literal, Inferential, Vocabulary, Evaluative).
Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression.
Spelling activities involve students spelling, blending and segmenting words. Spelling activities are not: Alphabetical order, finding words in word sleuths, writing out sentences. These types of activities are grammar or writing activities. Word meanings and orally putting words in context is a vocabulary lesson. A spelling lesson should not be any longer than 30 minutes.
High frequency (Magic Words) words and a variety of phonetically based spelling words from previous lists should be included in your literacy warm up each morning. High Frequency (Sight words) should be spelled using the letter names. Phonetic words should be sounded out during warm up activities.
Our aim is to create an environment that allows students to use grammatical knowledge and understandings in order to make appropriate choices in getting their message across in both written texts and in speaking and listening. An explicit, whole school approach to grammar has been adopted, so that our students gain essential knowledge and understandings of the functional use of grammar in Standard Australian English.
Vocabulary is one of the five major components of reading and is linked to academic success. Vocabulary instruction provides essential background knowledge for reading and writing. If students are taught words before they read them in a text, they have a better chance of comprehending what has been read. Vocabulary must be taught explicitly with the intention of improving comprehension and writing.
Daily Sentence Writing
Confident and successful writers need to be able to select words appropriately and construct sentences effectively. Words and sentences are the “foundations and walls” of quality writing and the more opportunity children have to explore and try out new words or sentence constructions the greater the impact on their writing.
Teachers must explore the specific language features and structures with their students during shared/modelled/guided sessions and children must be encouraged to use and apply this learning in their independent writing. The links must be made explicit to the children between the language features/structures being explored and the impact and effect these will have on the resultant writing and upon the reader.