Chelsea Primary School is in Melbourne's southeast bayside suburbs. We are a Science of Reading school and use structured literacy. Science of Reading (SOR) refers to an enormous body of research and an emerging consensus that converges into how the brain learns to read and how educators should teach reading to ensure the best outcomes for all students. We use MSL (multi-sensory learning) to link reading, writing, and spelling. We have staff trained in the Orton-Gillingham (O-G) approach, which prepares educators to successfully provide reading instruction to all students and targeted instruction to struggling readers, including those with dyslexia.
Learning to read is not a natural process like learning to walk. Our brains are naturally wired for Oral language (speech); however, our brains are not naturally wired to read and write. Reading is a complex skill and what is termed biologically secondary. Our language has evolved over many decades, and many words have Latin, Greek and even Japanese origins. At CPS, we explicitly teach children how to decode (read) and encode (spell) using an evidence-based scope and sequence, ensuring children develop literacy skills for future academic success.
We offer a program that promotes skill development in reading and viewing, writing, speaking, and listening in a supportive and stimulating environment. Planning is based on the Victorian Curriculum and is supported by best practices around literacy acquisition. We have a knowledge-rich curriculum to build our students' depth and breadth of content knowledge by embedding history, geography, science and humanities in our lessons.
All the components of the Big 6—oral language, phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension—need to be integrated and embedded into a comprehensive literacy program. Big Six of Literacy
Our early years educators engage all students in Prep to Year 2 with daily Heggerty Phonological & Phonemic Awareness activities. We use Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) teaching model. Our literacy instruction is very structured and teaches children the 44 letter sounds and how we blend sounds to read and spell. We have invested in new sets of decodable readers for our beginning readers. Children use decodable readers to practise the sound-spelling relationships and use the decoding skills taught in phonics lessons. Reading for enjoyment is essential for children. Teachers share rich, authentic texts daily to promote reading for pleasure. Students are provided with books for adults to read until children can decode well enough to tackle the books themselves. We challenge children to read for 15 minutes a day in class, and nightly reading is encouraged.
Our students learn about the grammatical structure of words, explore morphology (the study of words and their parts), syntax (sentence structure), and the fascinating world of etymology (the history and examination of the origin of words and meanings). Children learn a range of words with prefixes and suffixes throughout their time at primary school, usually starting in Years 3-6. Learning about root words, prefixes/suffixes helps children understand words better and unlock the structure and meaning within words. Students also begin to see links between different words and identify word families. Morphology
At Chelsea Primary School, we have focused fluency instruction in our classrooms. Fluency pairs is a short, sharp activity where we pair students to read a text multiple times a week. In our spelling lessons from Prep to Year 6, we follow the guidelines of Spelling Mastery. For writing at Chelsea Primary School, we have implemented The Writing Revolution, also known as The Hochman Method, an explicit set of evidence-based strategies for teaching writing.
Literacy support at Chelsea Primary School is our priority and a social equity issue. We have introduced the Response to Intervention (RTI) model, a multi-tiered approach to learning instruction. In Tier 2 or 3 interventions, we can differentiate instruction and target specific skills for struggling learners. Our team provides: