At St Bernard’s the NSW English Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum is implemented in Kindergarten to Year 6 to develop literature based English teaching and learning programs. We believe that language is integral for building content knowledge across the curriculum, to enrich the academic, wellbeing and economic outcomes of all students’ lives.
“The most fundamental responsibility of schools is teaching students to read. Because reading affects all other academic achievement and is associated with social, emotional, economic, and physical health, it has been the most researched aspect of human cognition” (Moats 2020).
St Bernard’s has adopted evidenced based instruction that is underpinned by The Simple View of Reading and Cognitive Science. This research-based approach informs the design of our instruction and classroom delivery. The Simple View of Reading and Literacy instruction compromises of explicit and systematic teaching word recognition, subject matter knowledge, vocabulary, sentence comprehension and language from written texts.
At St Bernard’s teachers instruct the students using evidenced based instruction that is direct, systematic and explicit with the goal and purpose being for all students to learn, enjoy and understand. Teachers assess students’ using reliable evidence-based assessments and use this data to differentiate for students’ needs, tailoring lessons to small groups or individuals. Other High Impact strategies include corrective feedback, examples and non-examples to embed concepts, connecting vocabulary to reading and writing and opportunities to retrieve information through daily and monthly reviews. We use Daily Reviews to revise previously taught material, interleaving new material to develop automaticity. Daily Reviews involve active participation of students through regular checks for understanding, and engagement through frequent whole class responses.
The Science of Learning underpins the teaching and learning at St Bernard’s. It describes how individuals acquire, enhance or make changes in knowledge, skills and values. The goal of the Science of Learning is to provide evidence-based insights into how students learn best and how to design effective instructional methods and educational environments.
All staff at St Bernard’s have received professional learning in the delivery and design of Daily Reviews for Reading and Vocabulary. This was followed up with instructional coaching from Dr Lorraine Hammond on Daily Review for K-6 to support implementation and embedded practice throughout the school. Spelling Mastery has been implemented across Years 1-6 as a Direct Instruction Program for Spelling. Students complete a placement test and are grouped according to the spelling development and need. Student progress is regularly monitored using the Spelling Mastery assessments.
At St Bernard’s the Explicit Instruction learning programs provide students with scaffolds that support success and mastery of new learning. The Classroom Support Team collaborates with teachers to provide tier 2 and 3 interventions. These interventions are evidence based and targeted to the point of need. Interventions for Literacy may include Let’s Decode, Minilit, Macqlit, Warl or personalized learning plans.
Data is collected regularly for all students and tracked by the Classroom Support Teachers. The Classroom Support Teachers are responsible for the collation and analysis of all Literacy data and the school Data Wall which is reviewed each term.