English


Eaglehawk Primary School’s English (Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening) program is based on the teaching practices and high impact teaching strategies as outlined by the Victorian Department of Education and Training.  

Every classroom has a daily two-hour Literacy block consisting of one hour of reading and one hour of writing, with speaking and listening taught across the 2 hours. Students participate in:  

Reading
Shared reading - sets the focus for the lesson and includes explicit teaching. It usually involves the whole class and the teacher, reading an enlarged text, that is beyond the level students can read.
Guided reading/Literature circles - the teacher supports a small group of students to read a text independently. 


Sessions are made up of three parts: 

  • before reading discussion 
  • independent reading with planned places to stop and discuss 
  • after reading discussion

(Literature circles may occur over several sessions) 

Independent reading - provides students opportunities to practise strategies and knowledge, learnt from explicit teaching, during the whole group focus at the start of the reading lesson.  

Reading conference - is a scheduled discussion between a teacher and a student around a text selected by the student from a range of 'just right' books which have been tailored to the learning needs and reading interests of the student.  

A reading conference offers students the opportunity to:

  • share their thoughts about what they have read  
  • set goals for future reading and  
  • receive feedback from the teacher. 

Sharing circle - is the opportunity to revisit the lesson focus, with students articulating their understandings, learnings and discoveries.

Each of the above provides opportunities for the teacher to: 

  • develop oral language 
  • introduce new vocabulary 
  • support students to read fluently, with expression and confidence  
  • promote interest, thought and enjoyment with texts (books, magazines, newspapers etc) 
  • demonstrate decoding (ways to solve unknown words) and comprehension strategies (ways to help understand – predicting, summarising, questioning, inferring) 
  • teach early reading knowledge such as starting left to right, top to bottom, left page before right page and common words ( I, a, to, the, my) 
  • teach phonics and phonemic awareness (rhyming, the different sounds letters make by themselves and with others letters – s, sh, spr, increase the bank of known words students can automatically read)

Reading Resources

Writing: 
Shared writing - sets the focus for the lesson and includes explicit teaching. It usually involves the students collaborating with the teacher to jointly construct a written text.  The teacher acts as scribe, prompting, questioning and supporting the students as the text is shaped.  Because the teacher does the recording, the text is usually more complex than what the students would be able to accomplish independently. 

Guided writing - involves the teacher meeting with a small group to provide a mini-lesson, on an identified challenge faced by the selected students. 

Independent writing - provides students with the opportunities to practise the various skills and knowledge they have developed throughout the more supported teaching practices.

Writing conference - is a scheduled discussion between a teacher and a student around a piece of writing selected by the student. 

A writing conference offers students the opportunity to:

  • share their thoughts about what they have written  
  • set goals for future writing and  
  • receive feedback from the teacher. 

Sharing circle - is the opportunity to revisit the lesson focus, with students articulating their understandings, learnings and discoveries

Each of the above provides opportunities for the teacher to: 

  • develop oral language
  • introduce new vocabulary
  • teach the process of writing -planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing 
  • compose different types of text – narrative, information, procedural, response, descriptive, report, recount 
  • support students to elaborate and embellish their ideas to provide greater detail and interest 
  • teach grammar – punctuation, paragraphing 
  • research a topic and take notes 
  • meet with students to provide support and advice on their writing 
  • teach phonics and phonemic awareness (rhyming, the different sounds letters make by themselves and with others letters – s, sh, spr, increase the bank of known words students can automatically write) 

Writing Resources

Spelling 
The teaching of spelling occurs during both reading and writing. Teachers support students to develop a growing bank of known words they can automatically write, using the strategy, ‘look, say, cover, write, check’. Students develop a range of flexible and efficient strategies that they can draw upon when learning to spell unfamiliar words. These might include:

  • finding smaller words inside a larger word (e.g. under –st-and),  
  • using analogy (e.g. knowing how to spell ball helps the spelling of fall, call, tall),  
  • knowledge of letter patterns (e.g. ee, ea, e, i,  y, ey can all say ‘E’)  
  • using mnemonics (memory aids- e.g. the principal is my pal) and  
  • other resources such as dictionaries and spell checkers.




Speaking & Listening 
Oral language is the ability to speak and listen and is used to express and receive meaning. It involves the development and demonstration of active-listening strategies and appropriate oral language for particular audiences and occasions, including body language and voice.  

Talk plays a central role in learning. Classrooms are filled with talk and thinking. In all group situations, members need to follow the social protocols for classroom discussions. How to interact in a talk situation, can be established through the development of ‘ground rules’ for talk - how interactions take place, what to do if there is disagreement, how to respectfully challenge and how to reach an agreement.