Our K-2 literacy programs place a heavy focus on oral language, reading, writing, printing, as well as grammar, semantics (word meaning) and comprehension (understanding what is heard or read).
Children with a good vocabulary, grammar knowledge and articulation are more likely to correctly interpret what they read and express themselves more effectively when speaking and writing. Please support your child’s language development by asking questions to check understanding and comprehension when reading or encountering new words. Some words are abstract concepts to understand and require explanations. Also, please correct and remodel any grammatical errors your child makes especially with pronouns (“he”, “him”, “his”, “she”, “her”, “hers’”) or tense (“ran” instead of “runned”, “kept” instead of “keepted) or any articulation of letter sounds or pronunciation of words.
Learning to read is a long process that entails many facets. At this stage we are focussing on consolidating letter/sound relationships with a move towards familiarity of sight words, repetition of sentences, rhyme and the use of picture cues. Reading to your child is extremely important, as you are modelling the behaviours we are trying to teach. Please don’t get discouraged if your child does not pick up learning to read immediately. Due to the child’s development and learning style, it may take them a little time to grasp the concept. It is important to listen to your child read every night when they start bringing home reading books and be both positive and encouraging. Remember, they will not know the words at the beginning so please help them rather than let them struggle with every word. Home readers support our in class reading program. Please remember children choose their own readers.
When children are explicitly taught the strategies of how to read and are given opportunity to practise reading, they become confident, capable readers. The amount of time children spend reading and developing their reading skills directly impacts on their reading development. We always strive to undertake best teaching practice for the children at this school, therefore Guided Reading across the school has become a priority.
We begin listening to children’s reading and comprehension and children are ‘levelled’ into appropriate reading groups. During Guided Reading sessions, teachers encourage children to develop ‘word attack’ strategies such as:
- Using the illustrations to help decode the words on the page
- Using the knowledge of first letter sounds to help decode words
- Predicting words based on what is happening in the story
- Chunking sounds together to help decode the words in the story
- Re-reading the sentence to make sure that it makes sense
Comprehension is a major part of the reading process. Questioning children about the stories they read will help to further develop their understanding and continue to improve their reading skills. Should you have any further questions about the Guided Reading Program please do not hesitate to contact your child’s classroom teacher.
The writing font for the whole school is the New South Wales Foundation Font. It is important that the children learn where they need to begin writing each letter to develop formation skills. Please encourage this at home especially for name writing. Also it is important to stress to your child that a capital letter is used for the first letter only and not in the middle of names. Click here to print a copy of the placemat used in early years classrooms and ideas on helping your child at home.
How can you help your child at home?
Initial Sounds(hearing the sound at the start of a word)
- Please remember to focus on the sound the letter makes and not the letter name. An understanding of the letter name will come naturally to the children and does not need to be explicitly taught
- When reading a book to your child ask them if two words start with the same sound. For example: Do moon and money start with the same sound? Do robot and sun start with the same sound?
- When you are food shopping ask your child to say what is going into the trolley/basket and then ask them what sound they can hear at the start of the word. For example: “Carrot starts with a…?”
- If your child is having difficulty hearing the initial sound, really over-emphasis the sound at the start of the word. For example: “At the start of ssssssnake I can hear a ssssss”. Great letters to really over-emphasis are: f, l, m, n, s, r, v, z
- Brainstorm words that start with the same sound. For example: You may be in your child’s bedroom and identify: bed, ball, basket, Ben 10 and bag all start with a “b”
Final Sounds(hearing the sound at the end of a word)
This skill will begin to develop once your child has the awareness of hearing the initial sound in a word, which increases their awareness that there are different sounds, in different places in a word. Hearing sounds at the end of a word can be quiet a difficult skill for a child to acquire and requires time to practice and develop.
Medial Sounds(hearing sounds in the middle of words)
This skill will develop once your child has the ability to hear initial and final sounds in a word. Hearing sounds in the middle of a word is more difficult again and requires time to master.
Segmenting Sounds in Words
- On your way home from school, talk about the things around you by breaking up the sounds in the words. For example “I can see a…(d-o-g, c-a-t, l- ea-f, st – i – ck, c – ar) what can I see?”
- When you give your child instructions. For example “Go and get your b – a- g”. “Let’s read a b – oo – k”
- When you are cooking dinner ask your child to break up the sounds in words. For example “What sounds can you hear in…(fork, log, cat, sit, dog, hat, pig)?” They would then reply with: f – or – k, l – o – g, c – a – t, etc
Then move onto using their Sound Identification knowledge…
- Use playdough or magnetic letters to make words. Use simple three letter words (cat, dog, log, sit, pig)
- Ask your child to write simple words: on paper, on a whiteboard, using chalk, in shaving cream, in paint or in sand
- Encourage your child to read simple words you have written for them
Here are some websites you can visit at home to help your child consolidate their language skills.