Literacy at River Gum Primary School is a whole school approach based on the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Model in conjunction with Lisa Keskinen’s work and the Orton Gillingham Multi-sensory Structured Learning approach to build lifelong skills for literacy. Teachers use this approach and the strategies listed in the Department of Education’s Literacy Toolkit to develop a love for reading and writing and personalise student learning with individual goals for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Each classroom has a classroom library where students can access rich texts for inspiration and classes regularly visit the Hampton Park Community Library, which is within walking distance of River Gum Primary.
Our Foundation and Junior students focus on developing strong oral language, phonological awareness, phonics and concepts of print through the Orton Gillingham Multi-sensory Structured Learning approach.
Teachers are continually assessing and updating student goals through conferencing and strategy groups and use non-negotiable curriculum standards for student achievement at each level. Students who need extra support or extension are catered for through intervention and extension opportunities within the classroom implemented by expert teachers in strategy groups. These students are provided with Individual Learning Plans to personalise their learning.
Parents and students can view student work on Seesaw portfolios, in classrooms or on display boards which our school community can also view.
The Orton Gillingham Multi-sensory Structured Learning approach is a scientific based approach that aims to build pathways in the brain. All senses (seeing, hearing, touching and moving) are activated at the same time to ensure students to develop essential literacy skills such as sound and letter knowledge, handwriting, phonics, spelling rules and oral language.
The majority of teachers in Foundation to Grade 2 as well as our Invention and Extension teachers have completed intensive training and are accredited MSL educators.
Students in Grades 3 to 6 are also exposed to MSL through ‘heart’ words (words learnt by sight), spelling rules such (including prefixes and suffixes), vocabulary and morphology.
All students participate in a daily 2 hour literacy block consisting of 60 minutes for Reader’s Workshop and 60 minutes for Writer’s Workshop. Our Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Model follows our River Gum Instructional Model Framework and consists of tuning in activities, explicit teaching, independent practice (including Independent Reading and response time) and a review based on gradual release. Teachers explicitly teach reading and writing skills through shared reading or modelled writing at the beginning of the Reader’s or Writer’s Workshop.
During independent practice time, teachers conference with students to set goals or are involved in strategy groups based on student needs. All students have a Reader’s and Writer’s Notebook in which they record their reading responses and ideas for writing.
Students have the opportunity at the end of each lesson to share their responses or writing to gain feedback from their teacher or classmates in Reader’s and Author’s chair.