At Wilandra Rise Primary School we take an evidence-based approach to reading through the teaching of Systematic Synthetic Phonics. The Little Learners scope and sequence guides all our planning and assessments in the simple code and introduces phonemes and graphemes in a sequential and systematic order. This supports student learning and understanding and gives them the skills to decode (read) and encode (write) words. Phonics sessions offer students a predictable and familiar classroom routine that helps reduce cognitive load which allows students to process and learn new phonemes, graphemes and spelling choices daily.
The use of daily review (activating prior knowledge) within a phonics session allows students multiple exposures and time to practise and consolidate already learnt phonemes, graphemes and grammar concepts such as compound words and homophones.
Within a session teachers aim build students' vocabulary and understanding of word meaning this is achieved through pictures, grammar and word context.
Within a Phonics session students are exposed to and consolidate on the skills of decoding and encoding.
Encoding is the skill of spelling and using the phonemes, graphemes and spelling choices we have taught when writing words. Decoding is when a student uses their knowledge of letter-sound relationships to accurately read a word. Encoding is universally accepted as a more difficult skill that needs continuous exposure and consolidation for students to retain.
Students use multiple skills when encoding including, handwriting, decoding, remembering and using the taught spelling rule including digraphs, trigraphs, split vowel digraphs, r-controlled syllables, morphology and etymology.
The relationship between phonemic awareness, reading, and spelling is complementary.
Many students find the writing process extremely challenging. These students may have wonderful ideas, but struggle to get their thoughts onto the page. Even those who read reasonably well can experience difficulty with written expression.
Talk for Writing is a unique process that uses spoken (oral) activities to develop writing skills.
Quality writing is created by first expanding and developing students’ oral language skills and then teaching the necessary steps for exceptional sentence, paragraph and text construction. Talk for Writing has the potential to dramatically improve students’ writing. The approach also offers students with learning and language difficulties an opportunity to develop stronger writing skills. Feedback from students indicates that they find Talk for Writing ‘fun, engaging and motivating.’
We are very excited to announce that at Wilandra Rise Primary School we have started to use this approach when teaching writing across the school.
Teachers are participating in weekly Professional Development sessions to upskill staff in this writing process and continuing to build teacher capacity to effectively teach writing in their classrooms and engage students.
Talk for Writing is a sequential and systematic approach that enables students to access explicit teaching of both fiction and non-fiction texts. Students are encouraged to delve into the specific literacy tools and devices used by authors to engage their audience.
This process started in 2020 in Foundation and Year 1 and in 2022 we began to embed it in the middle and senior school. It is pleasing to observe a significant increase in student engagement during Writing sessions. In addition, pre and post writing data is also indicating an improvement in student learning outcomes in writing.
To find out more about Talk for Writing follow the below link to listen to Pie Corbett (Talk for Writing founder) explain why this approach to teaching writing is so successful.
Please ask your child about what they are learning in writing sessions at school and encourage them to orally rehearse the texts at home.