At CHPS we use the Workshop structure for our reading sessions. The Workshop structure aims to provide consistent routines and expectations for students, allowing them to spend large amounts of time on text.
Within the Reading Workshop, one of the key things is ‘Time’. Students need to spend as much time as possible reading, responding to reading and talking about reading. During the Workshop, students will be involved in independent reading and response, small group instruction such as guided, reciprocal, or literature circles, or individual conferencing. Providing these regular opportunities for rich discussion allows students to build on their comprehension strategies by thinking within, about, and beyond the text.
One big question that parents often ask is: “How do you teach children to read at your school?” Teaching students to read or ‘decode’ words they have not seen before takes a three-pronged approach.
The first area that is addressed is the explicit teaching of phonics. Students are taught the 44 sounds (phonemes) of the English language and the letters or groups of letters associated with them when they appear in books. The use of the THRASS tool supports students to become familiar with regular and irregular spelling patterns, allowing them to read a wide range of words. It is in this way that students build banks of word parts and words, thus starting their journey to becoming independent readers.
The second layer to the teaching of reading is utilising rich literature to support the student’s understanding of word parts, patterns, prefixes and suffixes that commonly appear in the English language. Students are then able to use clues within the word to not only read them, but build a phonological awareness that allows for understanding and spelling of the words in future writing.
FInally, CHPS makes use of the Magic Words to support students to learn high frequency words that appear in texts (e.g. was, and, the). Students practise these words both at school and at home which assists them in developing increased fluency as they learn to read.
For children to be successful readers, it is imperative that they build strong abilities in both decoding and comprehension. Teachers at Chelsea Heights Primary School pride themselves in using research-based practices in both of these areas, whilst instilling a love and passion for reading that will last a lifetime.