Literacy at Clyde Primary School

At Clyde Primary School, Literacy is an integral part of all areas of the curriculum, therefore is learnt through an approach where thinking, speaking, listening, reading and writing are inter-related. This enables our students to move between reading and writing, and involve them in speaking and listening experiences, which support and extend their literacy learning and skills.

Our integrated Literacy program is based on the Victorian Curriculum, CAFE Reading system, Writer’s Workshop and Writer’s Notebook.

The CAFE system is used to assess, instruct, and monitor student progress. It provides tools for constructing whole class and small focus group explicit instruction, ensuring that all students reach their potential. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary (With exception of the Year 5/6 CAFE Menu which combines accuracy with fluency allowing the A to stand for Awareness). The CAFE Menu breaks each component—comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary—into significant strategies that support each goal. All teaching and learning areas have CAFE Menus displaying each strategy as it is introduced and these are developed throughout the year. It serves as a visual reminder of whole-class instruction as well as individual student goals.

Our focus text types are also introduced and deconstructed during reading lessons. Children are presented with rich text examples where they can identify and analyse the structure, and language features specific to the text type. During the Writer’s Workshop session, our students are provided with opportunities to reconstruct the text type through their writing and apply their knowledge of structure and language features to their work. These sessions are conducted three times per week.

Students complete a Writer’s Notebook session twice a week.  During Writer’s Notebook, students take ownership and autonomy over their learning where they choose the text type and topic they wish to write.  They are explicitly taught skills that good writers possess and they use seeds gathered to assist with ideas. Students then work through the writing process to produce pieces that they cannot only be proud of, but that they can also set their own future learning goals from.

Individual Writer’s Notebooks are provided for all students.  The notebooks are an excellent opportunity for them to gather ideas, thoughts and feelings to assist them with their independent writing during class.

All students are explicitly taught how to ‘Gather Seeds’ for their notebook and continue to learn how to develop them throughout the first term. Students are encouraged to gather one seed per week so that over time they have a whole ‘garden’ of seeds to assist them during writing.

Writer’s Notebook is a place to excite students about writing rather than a place to draw pictures when they are bored. However, they can include pictures that have a purpose e.g. drawing a special event, favourite things, family etc. Students are encouraged to write descriptive words and labels so that they can remember many details when using the seed during writing time.

Writer’s notebooks are not marked by teachers, as they are a place for children to feel free to write without judgement.  Spelling and other mistakes become a focus for students during the editing stage of their writing process.