Literacy at St. Simon's is fundamental to the learning process of all children. Our program follows the mandates of AusVELS and CEO assessment schedules, which then guide personalised learning of all students. It provides each child with the opportunities to become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society. Our program respects and explores the contribution of diverse cultures and their distinctive ways of representing and communicating knowledge, traditions and experiences. We encourage the children to analyse, understand, communicate, build relationships with others and with the world around them. We aim to engage our students creatively and critically with the literature to expand their scope of experience. Through our teaching we strive to develop confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. From Foundation through to Year 6 students are exposed to a wide range of media/experience to develop their understanding and engage with literacy.
Our Literacy Program focuses on the development of support materials and resources to complement our existing program for students and review the support framework that we provide for our teaching staff.
Professional development activities:
- Literacy Curriculum Review - Our Literacy Curriculum team, with the support of all teachers at all levels, continually review the content of their literacy curriculum in order to reflect current practices and decide upon areas for future development. As a result of this process, the teaching of spelling is a major professional development focus for 2015.
- ICT resources to support our Literacy Program have been a focus over the past three years. Last year we trialled 'Reading Eggspress' across years 3 & 5 and although the product was a very good resource the cost per student was prohibitive compared to other products in the marketplace. This year we continue on with the RAZKids program for Years 2, 3 & 4, as it provides online reading, writing and vocabulary development activities that can be accessed 24/7 by students. We look to use the program more fully in 2015 across years 1-4.
- Assessment has been a priority across the school and in Literacy (as with Numeracy) we have adopted the new SPA package to record student performance and outcomes. This program enables us to track student performance through each year of their learning and identify their relative growth. We continue to monitor the comprehension development of students from Years 3-6 via the LAP which is administered by the University of Melbourne.
- Support for our Take Home Books program continues to grow as parents and teachers have become more familiar with the regular processes of stocktaking our books. Modelled Reading has been most successful with students from our senior classes regularly providing Reading Tutor Support time to students across the junior classes. The Reading Level Monitoring Program has proved to be a most beneficial tool for tracking student progress across the reading levels for students from Prep to Year 2.
- Secondary students from Nazareth and St. Joseph’s Colleges have again provided support to our Literacy Programs through their Classroom Helpers Program and the Lighthouse Program. These programs provide our students with a very valuable opportunity to work with a teenage mentor and the secondary students with the opportunity to be responsible for maintaining a focus across an extended period of time.
- Student Support Programs have been extended to include a number of small groups working with the Literacy Leader, on a regular basis, to improve their skills. In addition the Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Program introduced by Betty Carroll, one of our Reading Recovery Teachers, has had a very positive effect on improving literacy skills.