We hope you have been having a fantastic start to the new year and that your children are enjoying their first English lessons, getting to know their teachers and reading their first texts. In 2019 we are pleased to announce three ways in which you can further support your students from home to take control of their own literacy development.
The Melbourne Literacy Clinic
In 2018 we trialled the introduction of an external speech pathologist with wider literacy development training into the school. Each week the Melbourne Literacy Clinic attends the school for two days, running sessions to help students overcome specific challenges that they might be facing in their literacy development. This is a private service even though it is based within the school, and comes with a cost of $80 per session - which is a discount rate for Mordialloc students. With each session parents receive feedback and ways to reinforce the learning that has taken place, as do classroom teachers and the students themselves. We have been pleased to see many students making some great progress through the program and to be able to continue the program. If you would like to know more, please visit their website (http://www.mllc.com.au/) and if you would like to be involved, please email me at [email protected] (payment plans are available).
Research shows that students who face challenges in their spelling can quickly overcome these challenges if they have a program developed that addresses rules and common spelling misunderstandings in a personalised and staged manner. Spellzone provides an effective way to provide this service for all students across the school, from Year 7 all the way to Year 12. The main strength of the program is the way in which students can complete a 15 minute test of their spelling before it automatically creates a sequence of lessons and activities to address any gaps in their knowledge of common spelling patterns. Students may request their password from their teacher if they haven’t already received it, and then we would strongly encourage parents to support students by sitting down next to them and helping them work on the first few pages. There is also strong research to show that the closeness of a parent or carer who shares in the process of learning spelling with their child can greatly enhance both engagement and learning speed. You can explore the website here: https://www.spellzone.com/.
In 2019 we are also pleased to continue our independent reading program where students from Years 7-9 are given time to borrow books from The Hub and to read books of their choice in class once a week. The underlying rationale for this choice has been clear research that shows that students who read three times a week for at least twenty minutes are significantly advantaged in terms of their attainment in school (across all subject areas) and future life opportunities over those who do not. Research has also shown that students who do not read regularly and recreationally will only be exposed to around 7000 new words from Grade 5 to Year 10. Meanwhile, those who do read will be working with somewhere between 80,000 to 90,000 new words: a striking advantage. Reading has also been shown to have positive impacts upon emotional development, behavioural development, academic capital and communication skills. Here are some common ways that parents support children at home to enjoy regular reading:
- They provide opportunities for children to choose their own books (visits to the library, online bookshop vouchers for birthdays, visits to bookshops)
- They try to establish routines for reading where it happens at the same time each day
- They model reading by reading themselves regularly and visibly
- They ask their children about their books, and discuss with them the things they are reading about in an interested way
- They engage them in reading about things relevant to the family (for example if a holiday is coming up, they might ask their child to read about where they are going and what there is to do there)
- They create a quiet space for reading to happen regularly
- They sometimes read with them, sharing a book or magazine and reading together about joint interests
Parent Reading Program Proposal
In 2019 we are also interested in developing a parents support group focused on reading in collaboration with Kingston libraries. This group would meet once a term to learn about how parents can support their children to read. To find out more about the program we are looking at using, visit this website: https://www.readingtogether.net.nz/reading-together.html. We would welcome any volunteers from the Mordialloc Community who would be interested in helping us to organise the program, or if you are a parent of a Year 7 or 8 student and would like to be involved, please drop me an email directly at [email protected].
Thanks again to all parents for their support of our school community over the last few years, and for their ongoing efforts and investment in their own children. We look forward to a fantastic new year.
Director of Literacy Improvement