Teach Like a Champion 2.0
Teach Like a Champion is the bedrock of our content delivery and classroom management throughout the school. Used in schools all around the world, Teach Like a Champion provides educators with a set of techniques, a shared vocabulary, and a framework for practice that equips teachers to achieve dramatic results with their students. Our teaching pedagogy is a balance of intentional teaching (through Explicit Direct Instruction) and an inquiry-based model, with an emphasis on various forms of play, particularly in the early years. We pride ourselves on delivering content via carefully designed lessons that provide clear learning intentions, effective feedback and high levels of individual accountability for students. To ensure previously taught content is mastered and moves from short to long term memory, students take part in Daily Reviews that are fast paced and involve high levels of engagement and differentiation.
Letters and Sounds (Kindergarten to Year 2)
The Letters and Sounds program effectively targets the development of oral language, phonological awareness and accurate reading and spelling in the early years. It aligns with the achievement standards outlined in the Australian Curriculum (English) and has been shown to significantly improve whole-school literacy outcomes. The Letters and Sounds program is implemented in Term 1, and students move through the five phases from Kindergarten to Year 2.
Talk for Writing (P to Year 2)
The Talk for Writing approach enables students to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that students internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the students’ ability to write creatively and powerfully.
Schools underpin their English work by establishing a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all students experience and draw upon. The key phases of the Talk for Writing process enable students to imitate orally the language they need for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.
7 Steps to Writing Success (Year 3 to Year 6)
The Seven Steps is a writing resource developed by Australian author Jen McVeity. It uses both author and curriculum-based techniques to develop writing skills in students to improve their Narrative, Persuasive and Informative texts and enhance their love of writing. The seven individual steps ensure students don’t get overwhelmed with writing the whole piece, they gain confidence in each building block, and then they pull it all together to become creative and engaging writers. The steps are included here:
Step 1: Plan for Success
Step 2: Sizzling Starts
Step 3: Tightening Tension
Step 4: Dynamic Dialogue
Step 5: Show, Don’t Tell
Step 6: Ban the Boring
Step 7: Exciting Endings / Ending with Impact
Spelling Mastery (Year 3 to Year 6)
This evidence based, highly structured program blends phonemic, morphemic and whole word approaches to effectively teach critical spelling skills to students. The skills learned through engagement in their program support students to be proficient readers and writers. There is a focus on repetition and cumulative practice to promote mastery of concepts. Students undertake a placement test at the beginning of Year 3, or upon enrolment, and are re-tested annually. Lessons take place Monday to Thursday every week from 9:00am to 9:30am, with students moving to a specific classroom based on the level that best meets their needs.
Decodable Reading Books
At Freshwater Bay Primary School we have a vast collection of decodable readers to support our structured synthetic phonics literacy programs. These include the PhonicBook series, the Letters and Sounds readers and the SA Speld readers.
A decodable book is a book for a beginning or struggling reader which contains words she or he can sound out. In practice; this means it contains sound-letter relationships and word types its reader has been taught. It doesn’t include patterns not yet taught. ‘Decodability’ thus describes how well a book/text matches its reader’s decoding skills. It gives us a proper, objective way of identifying a just-right book, by ensuring lesson-to-text match.
By giving students decodable books containing the spelling patterns they’ve been taught, we:
Encourage and assist them to practise what they’ve learnt in class,
Maximise their chances of reading success, and
Encourage the habits of strong readers (accurate word reading) not the habits of weak readers (guessing words from pictures, context, sentence structure or first letters).
Decodable books avoid the confusing but all-too-common situation of children being taught “a” as in “cat” in class, but then encouraged to read books containing words in which “a” is not as in “cat”, like “table”, “want”, “all” and “any”.
Each decodable book series follows a phonics teaching sequence, so it’s important to use books which match the phonics sequence being taught.
Most decodable book series also teach a small number of high-frequency words with harder spellings at each stage (e.g. “the”, “is”, “my”, “I”, “was”, “to”), as such words are often needed for stories to make sense. These words are still composed of sounds, and most only contain one sound spelt in an unfamiliar or funny way, so they can usually still be partially sounded out.
A book is decodable if the reader knows all of the phonic code contained in the book, as well as all (or at least most) of the ‘tricky words’ (words that contain a phonic component unknown to the reader - usually only one unknown phonic component).
Decodable readers must be an integral part of a synthetic phonic approach to teaching reading.
Decodable readers are absolutely critical for emerging, and struggling readers.
Talk 4 Writing is an exceptionally effective instructional approach for both oral language and early writing development. The program highlights the importance of oral language development as the essential foundation for the reading and writing process. Students internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with teachers using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully. Below is an example of some of our students ‘talking the text’ of Jack and the Beanstalk.