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English learning at St Mary MacKillop Catholic Primary School underpins every facet of our school curriculum. All teachers are charged with the goal of encouraging lifelong learners and lovers of literacy. We aim to support children to become confident and articulate speakers, attentive and active listeners, accomplished and critical readers and confident writers.

Teaching is focused on all aspects as outlined by the Victorian Curriculum and guided by the Horizons of Hope framework developed by Catholic Education Melbourne.  This encourages our children to use strategic actions within, beyond and about texts when reading and writing.

Learning is achieved through a well-balanced English program, which encompasses a range of approaches and experiences that encourages children to take increasing responsibility for their learning.

Children in the Early Years begin their English education with a focus on the development of oral language skills, the necessary precursor for the development of written literacy skills. Children learn about narrative, conversational conventions, vocabulary development, phonological awareness and semantics through explicit small group teaching and consolidation through games and role plays. Children then progress towards formal reading and writing through the use of an eclectic approach that includes language experiences, modelled and shared reading and writing with a focus on the development of a love of language and literature.

The school has implemented Guided Reading, allowing all children to benefit from small group instruction tailored to meet their stage of development.  Literature circles are implemented for readers in Years 3-6.  This is an approach where small groups of children gather together to discuss a piece of literature in depth. The discussion is guided by children’s response to what they have read.

Our approach to English is based on the belief that learning is developmental and informed by data and this will ensure all children make progress and achieve success. Teachers regularly gather and use data to inform teaching and learning that is focused on a child’s point of need. Intervention is offered to children who require additional support.

At St Mary MacKillop, we have implemented SMART SPELLING for Foundation – Year Six. It is an approach where children are explicitly taught spelling patterns, meaning of words to expand vocabulary and break words into syllables, sounds and letter patterns (graphs, digraphs and trigraphs).

Developing a love of literature is celebrated at St Mary MacKillop and each year during Children’s Book Week in August, we focus on the love of books with a ‘Favourite Book Character’ parade where everyone gets dressed up, including all staff, and we share a day full of fun activities designed around the Shortlisted books for that year.

Parent Involvement

At St Mary MacKillop, we value parent involvement.  We invite parents to assist in classrooms and to stay tuned to notifications from Seesaw to view the real time English learning of the children.

Literacy is inseparable from opportunity, and opportunity is inseparable from freedom. The freedom promised by literacy is both the freedom from- f from ignorance, oppression, poverty- and freedom to – to do new things, to make choices, to learn

Koichiro Matsuura

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