Prep and Year One are implementing a new ‘Ready to Learn’ program this year. At Our Lady of Good Counsel we believe that a supportive and positive start to schooling is key to each child being a successful learner. “It is important to provide opportunities for each child to develop a sense of self, sense of others and sense of their own spiritual well-being.” (Brisbane Catholic Education Council Early Years Policy Statement, 2014, page 1).
The Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) recognises that personal and social capability assists students to become successful learners, helping to improve their academic learning and enhancing their motivation to reach their full potential. Students with well-developed social and emotional skills find it easier to manage themselves, relate to others, develop resilience and a sense of self-worth, resolve conflict, engage in teamwork and feel positive about themselves and the world around them. The development of personal and social capability is a foundation for learning and for citizenship (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority).
The Our Lady of Good Counsel Ready to Learn Program is based around the Personal and Social Capabilities developing the skills of: Self Awareness, Self Management and Social Management.
This Program teaches children the skills to be successful learners. It focuses on explicitly teaching the rules and routines of school life using visual cues and role play of what the expected behaviours look like, sound like and feel like. The Ready to Learn Program provides opportunities for our students to take ownership of their behaviour and learning. The program, which promotes independence, is a priority in the first term of Prep and Year One. Learning is made explicit through visual supports and role-play of what the expected behaviour “is and isn’t”. The program is proactive and supports the teaching of appropriate student behaviours that create a positive learning environment. When students demonstrate expected behaviours, the students are able to learn, feel safe, belong and feel valued. As students become familiar with the rules and expectations around the different activities, teachers are able to make the activities more centred around Literacy and Numeracy skills (sight words, letter/sound knowledge, number recognition, counting, etc). This then allows students daily practice and revision of skills explicitly taught in class.
It has been wonderful to see the students happily engaging in these activities each morning!
High Frequency Words at OLGC
Developing a bank of high frequency words is a skill that is one of the building blocks of learning to read. At school, your child is introduced to high frequency words (sometimes called Sight Words) in the context of a story or piece of text.
Regular revision of these words helps your child to develop fluency in their reading and allowsthem to use their other strategies to work out unfamiliar words.
In Prep and Year One this year, your child will regularly bring home their High Frequency Words inside the homework folder/homework book to practice reading the words covered in class. These words will be presented in the context of a sentence to add greater meaning around the word. The children’s knowledge of high frequency words will be checked in the context of their reading, both individually and in small groups. As your child begins to progress through the High Frequency Words taught in class, this will be reflected in their homework. Students do not need to know all words on their homework sheet to continue learning more – one or two may be added each week, or a whole group of words.
Once students are familiar with all the words, they will be asked to spell them and begin practicing the spelling of these words for homework. Additional words will be given to these children as they encounter unfamiliar words in their daily reading and writing. As well as recognizing the words and reading them aloud, you might like to try some of the following ideas to promote your child’s retention of the words.
Ideas for Home:*Child points to the word while repeating it.*Write words on to flash cards.*Stick words on fridge or back of doors.*Write the word multiple times (use chalkboard, whiteboard, iPad for variety)*Point out the words in library books and home reading books. *Use games to help your child recall the words:*Wordo—Played just like the game Bingo, but this version uses sight words instead of numbers on a grid card.*Concentration/Memory—Sight word concentration cards can easily be made using index cards. Simply write each word on two cards, shuffle and lay face down to play.*Go Fish—Go fish cards can easily be made using index cards. Simply write each word on two cards, shuffle and deal to play.*Letter Magnet Spelling—To reinforce sight word spelling, provide the child with a set of letter magnets and a metal surface. Have the child make the word using the card for reference.*Challenge: Call out sight words and ask the child to use the magnets to spell the word.
Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions about highfrequency words.