At Parklands there is a major focus on encouraging students to read and to help grow a love of reading. Jill has been fundamental in restructuring the Support-A-Reader session from classic decoding work, which students didn’t enjoy, to a model of literature immersion.
She introduced a classroom library in one of her Year 4 classes and set up a corner with comfortable furniture, cushions and a bookshelf. The initial classroom library had a terrific impact on reading, and students in the class were reading multiple books a week, and even those who had never read before were just as engaged.
Jill not only provides books for students to read, but she is reading them herself to be able to match students with books that would interest them. If a student comes to her not knowing which book to read, she always has many options, based on her knowledge of the student and the books that are available.
Celebrating reading is important to the community of WoodLinks. As the Head of Curriculum, Lesley is a reading champion who works across the school to develop and implement programs that empower teachers and invites the wider community to support students in practising and enjoying reading. Clear constant communication between the school leadership team and classroom teachers to families and students ensures that everyone knows that this is the explicit focus of the school: to help children every day with their reading journey. Engagement in reading has increased and the community feels more connected to the school through reading. WoodLinks open classrooms every term to parents to observe and participate in reading sessions. This has proved very popular and powerful with parents and care givers.
Lesley coordinates the daily morning reading club and daily guest reader. Students, teachers and parents are involved in the reading club and students are given incentives to attend each day such as bookmarks, books and wristbands. At the end of each term, students are awarded a certificate to celebrate their attendance. Guest readers have included the Mayor, local members of parliament, parents, teachers, teacher aides and students. Lesley also works with teachers to ensure that there is an explicit focus on the teaching of reading in every classroom from prep to year 6. Teachers are provided with reading coaches and opportunities to watch other teachers work, and are given feedback and support to improve their practice. As part of the WoodLinks Prep Transition program, Lesley works with parents to unpack all aspects of the reading program to ensure that they are able to help support the prep students and give them the best start to their education.
Prep data has shown a huge improvement in the last 12 months with 80% of students reading at or above benchmark (PM7 or above) at the end of 2017. Student data across the school has shown significant improvements due to the explicit approach to the teaching of reading across the school. With Vicki, Lesley and the team providing such an explicit focus on reading and involving the wider community, students really do see reading as a part of life and something to be enjoyed. The success at WoodLinks is being achieved through the efforts of many, with Lesley laying the foundations and supporting every aspect of the journey.
School—Woodlinks State School, Collingwood Park, QLD
In student daily practice Sandra encourages the use of big books, picture books and quality novels to engage and develop a love of reading. This includes reading rich literature in whole class, small groups, buddy and independent reading. Dedicated reading sessions involve reading, talking, reflecting and practising key comprehension and decoding skills.
Through quality professional learning, Sandra inspires staff to ensure that each classroom is rich in print. Clear purpose and expectations in all literacy lessons are modelled and outlined. Mandy and Sandra maintain a positive and enthusiastic focus on the importance of all literacy skills by building teacher capacity, leading whole school practice, providing effective resources and ongoing support. The true success is not only that the children can now successfully engage with literature, but they are also enjoying reading!
School—Hawker Primary School, Hawker, ACT
Jane has made the library the cultural centre of our school. She constantly promotes books and reading through the use of special theme displays to create a rich and engaging library environment. The school employs a range of programs to encourage reading and help students find books they’ll love to read. Jane monitors every child’s engagement in reading as they strive to read at least 40 books a year. The school also runs its own Writers' Week and top Australian writers and illustrators visit the school and give presentations to students about their work.
Staff strive to incorporate the development of comprehension skills across all subject areas and Jane develops classroom programs that address students’ individual needs as readers. These practices have resulted in students becoming more effective researchers and independent learners.
Jane closely tracks the borrowing rates of students across classes and she intervenes to support teachers, in classes with low borrowing rates, to set up processes to encourage more independent reading. By monitoring reading engagement across the school, Jane supports teachers to increase the level of borrowing and has increased the amount of independent reading students undertake.
Using iPads, Jane has helped students to develop short film clips to promote books. These ‘book trailers’ are available for viewing by the use of QR codes displayed around the library. Because of Jane’s passion and ongoing promotion of literature and books, students at Ardtornish now not only know how to read, but want to read!
School—Ardtornish Primary School, St Agnes, SA