Across Years 2-6, students at Challis learn to spell using the evidence-based program Spelling Mastery. This six-levelled spelling series uses an explicit, teacher-direct method of instruction that allows teachers to deliver interactive spelling and writing lessons through the use of patterns and rules.
Spelling Mastery interleaves three main approaches to support students to become proficient readers and writers. These include:
A phonemic approach - to help students learn the relationship between spoken sounds and written letters and then apply them to spelling. E.g The /v/ sound at the end of the word is usually spelled with v-e as in hive, have and shave.
Whole-word approach - to help students spell words that cannot be spelled by applying generalisations and instead commit these troublesome words to memory.
Morphemic approach - to help students combine words and word parts to spell multisyllabic words using a small number of reliable rules. E.g When a word ends with a consonant and -y, you change the y to an I when adding a morphograph on the end of a word.
Spelling Mastery lessons run for 20 minutes per day, four times a week and contain weekly reviews/tests to track and monitor student’s progress. Placement test results, completed at the end of the year, determine a student’s placement in a Spelling Mastery level.
At the end of 2022, placement test data showed that 89% of students across Years 2-6 successfully mastered their end of year criterion test. While this is a 7% dip in achievement from 2021, we acknowledge the impact COVID-19 had on Spelling Mastery lessons with high numbers of both student and teacher absences across Semester 1. However, we are proud to report that in 2023 we will have 69 students completing Level F - the highest level in the series. This is the largest number of students to ever achieve Level F since Spelling Mastery was implemented in 2018.
Our initial focus for Literacy in K-2 was to consolidate our current programs across the phase and support classroom teachers to deliver them effectively.
Throughout the year, we were aware of changes being made to the Early Years Learning
Framework and a subsequent review of the Kindergarten Guidelines.
These changes led us to review our Literacy program in Kindergarten, which caused an on-flow into Pre-primary and beyond.
Our initial focus for Literacy in K-2 was to consolidate our current programs across the phase and support classroom teachers to deliver them effectively. Throughout the year, we were aware of changes being made to the Early Years Learning Framework and a subsequent review of the Kindergarten Guidelines. These changes led us to review our Literacy program in Kindergarten, which caused an on-flow into Pre-primary and beyond.
During Term 3, we reached out to Brabham Primary School, to see how they incorporated Heggerty and Colourful Semantics into their Kindergarten program. Our Principal, Deputy Principal, a coach and 2 teachers visited their school and observed a Kindergarten teacher delivering both programs. Heggerty and Colourful Semantics were delivered differently to the scripted program, however, they did cater for all students. Differentiation was evident and EALD students were supported well. We reflected that our current program had gaps relating to the building of phonological skills and grammar, in the form of oral sentence construction.
Heggerty was already in our PP-2 curriculum so it was a natural progression to add it into Kindergarten. Two teachers were approached to trial Heggerty in Term 4. Both teachers were supported in designing the lessons, based on what we saw at Brabham PS. They received weekly coaching sessions that focused on student engagement to evaluate the success of the program. 2023 will see the implementation of Heggerty across the whole Kindergarten team.
Brabham PS sent through their Colourful Semantics Scope and Sequence. Although this is still in its trial phase at Brabham, we are going to incorporate it into the Kindergarten program from 2023. This scope and sequence has been developed in consultation with Fremantle LDC and does have a clear progression of skills. Both programs will be the focus of coaching sessions, and rehearsal of lessons during PLC’s, throughout 2023.
Mid term 4, the Leadership Team explored Reading Mastery – a direct instruction program designed to allow a child to become a fluent, skilled, and independent reader. We invited Toni Hatten-Roberts from COGlearn to Challis to provide an overview of Reading Mastery and the research and success behind the program. A consensus from the extended Leadership team (including coaches and lead teachers) was made to implement Reading Mastery for 2023.
Reading Mastery has two main components – Reading and Language. In addition, it has a smaller spelling component. These three components will make up our literacy instruction time in 2023. DI programs are orientated toward students’ skill proficiency rather than their age or grade level. In Term 4, a placement test was administered to every student in Kindergarten, Pre-primary and Year 1. These assessments gave each student a lesson start point within the Reading Mastery program that matched their current skill level. The results of which formed our class lists for 2023.
Next year, our coaching and support focus in PP-Year 2 will be on the effective delivery of the program – to mastery. This includes supporting teacher to give corrective feedback at point of need.
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