The study of English, and the broader concept of literacy, is about the appropriate and effective use of language, the use of language as a means of learning and the development of knowledge about language. Through language use, students convey and discover information, work through ideas and express feelings. Students learn how language works and how to use it well.
In our English curriculum, students are actively involved in reading, viewing, writing, comparing and talking about texts. Students are encouraged to explore and engage with a range of literature, explore ideas and to think critically about their world and the global community. Knowledge about how language functions and how it both reflects and shapes social attitudes assists students to achieve a better understanding of themselves, their culture and the world. They are encouraged to use the texts they read and listen to as resources in creating and constructing their own.
Our literacy model follows the guidelines indicated in the Curriculum and Standards Framework. The model is an adaptation of the Literacy Program, developed by the Victorian Department of Education, Australia, which encompasses the modes of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It involves whole class and individual instruction and possesses the following essential features:
1. Continuous assessment and monitoring
2. Understanding the developmental stages of reading
3. Grouping students for effective instruction – based on developmental stage and needs
identified through assessment and monitoring
4. Matching students to texts appropriate for their developmental stage
5. Providing additional support and assistance for students experiencing difficulties
Speaking and Listening is central to all aspects of the English curriculum and overlays the literacy model. Effective reading and writing instruction cannot occur without speaking and listening. Though our oral language activities, such as Speech and Drama, students explore and extend their knowledge of language and learn to communicate verbally. More over, these skills are developed in a variety of ways across the curriculum, the aim being to encourage attentive listeners and confident articulate speakers.
Reading skills are developed in our students through exposure to a variety of different genres,included in our reading curriculum. These include:
1. Narrative (Imaginative & Factual) – such as poetry, folktale, fairytale, legend, fantasy, sciencefiction.
2. Transactional – such as survey, questionnaire, invitation, letter.
3. Explanation – texts that give an account of how something works, why something happens or what causes something.
4. Recount – texts that relate past events and are the most common form of writing used by children. They are generally written from direct experience based on facts, although they can be fictitious and based on imagination.
5. Procedural – texts that instructs or informs the reader about processes.
6. Persuasive – texts that express a writer’s point of view, either subtly or obviously. The purpose of a persuasive text is to convince the reader to accept the writer’s point of view.
7. Report – unlike recounts, reports are not usually personal in nature, and do not rely on the writer always being involved in the experience. It is a way of presenting factual information, clearly and concisely and often requires the writer research the necessary information prior to writing.
Phonics and Spelling focuses on the specific teaching of phonics. Phonics plays an important role in teaching reading and writing. Teaching lessons are carefully planned to focus on words with similar beginning or ending sounds or blends, which make learning more specific, hence word recognition and sounding becomes easier for our students.
Writing focuses on the process of constructing messages and representing ideas, feelings and information in print. Students are taught the process of writing which comprises of planning, composing, recording, revising and publishing. Since the process of writing is recursive in nature, each of these aspects overlap and influence each other and should not be viewed as linear.
Grammar and Punctuations are taught as a separate skill from reading and writing. Each of our focus reading books incorporates at least one teaching objective in grammar or punctuations. This enables our students to have direct references to grammar and punctuation usage, in a timely and contextual manner.