This policy has been prepared to support teachers in the effective planning, teaching, and learning, assessment and evaluation of English ensuring a whole school approach.

The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyze, understand, communicate with and build relationships with others and with the world around them. The study of English helps young people develop the knowledge and skills needed for education, training and the workplace. It helps them become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society.  (Rationale, Australian Curriculum)

“Learning to read is the most important educational outcome of primary education.  Reading is a complex process that builds on oral facility, and encompasses both specific skill development (phonemic and decoding strategies) and the use of comprehension strategies.  The precise ways in which these processes combine need to be understood if teachers are to identify their students’ needs and teach most effectively.” (Konza, 2011)

The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose.
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue.
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning.
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.   (Aims, Australian Curriculum)


Implementation of Reading
At Karama School teachers are expected to run an hour long reading lesson 5 days a week.  These lessons must be in a small group setting, explicit in their lesson focus and supportive with differentiated tasks and strategies.

It is expected during this time that the overarching focus is The Big Six:

  1. Oral Language 2.  Phonological awareness
  2. Phonics 4.  Vocabulary
  3. Fluency 6.  Comprehension

The Big 6 – Literacy Literature Review for Evidence-Based Practices Framework.

During these lessons the explicit teaching of reading strategies may include, but is not limited to:

Oral Language


Phonological Awareness Phonics
·         Research into practice: Oral Language

·         Read more about Oral Language

·         Listening

·         Speaking

·         Morphology

·         Phonology


·         Research into practice: Phonological Awareness

·         Read more about Phonological Awareness

·         Rhyme

·         Syllable awareness

·         Onset and rime

·         Stretching

·         Segmentation

·         Alliteration

·         Blending

·         Manipulating/exchanging

·         Isolation


·         Research into practice: Phonics

·        Read more about Phonics

·         Letter sound knowledge

·         Blending

·         Letter names

Vocabulary Fluency Comprehension
·         Research into practice: Vocabulary

·         Read more about Vocabulary

·         Entomology (Word origins)

·         Dictionary and thesaurus use

·         Context clues

·         Research into practice: Fluency

·         Read more about Fluency

·         Rate

·         Phrasing

·         Intonation

·         Pausing Stress

·         Punctuation

·         Integration

·         Research into practice: Comprehension

·         Read more about Comprehension

·         Determining important/main idea

·         Summarising

·         Paraphrasing

·         Synthesising

·         Making inferences

·         Making connections

·         Activing prior knowledge

·         Self-questioning

·         Predicting

·         Skimming and scanning

·         Comparing and contrasting

·         Cause and effect

·         Self-monitoring /clarifying

·         Visualising

·         Using analogy/metaphors



Read Alouds
Reading to children is a valuable activity that should occur daily at all year levels. Students of all ages benefit from having books read to them in a supportive environment. It enables teachers toKarama model fluent oral reading and introduce new vocabulary and genres. Teachers can also present quality literature that most students would find difficult to read independently. It exposes students to wide range of text types, writing styles and authors. Teachers read all sorts of books both fiction and non-fiction to students to promote reading.

Modelled Reading
Modelled reading focus is on the explicit planning and demonstration of selected reading behaviours.  This regularly included the demonstration of comprehension and word identification strategies.  Students participate by actively listening and watching rather than contributing, suggesting and pursuing discussions.  When using modelled reading it is important to choose a text that is most suited to demonstrate the selected reading behavior.

Think Alouds
Think Alouds are used to model the thought processes that take place when difficult material is read.  When using think alouds, teachers verbalize their thoughts while they are reading orally.  Students will understand comprehension strategies better because they can see how the mind can respond to thinking through trouble spots and constructing meaning from text.

Shared Reading
Shared reading can be used with small groups or a whole class group.  Shared reading involves a teacher and students reading and rereading from a large print text, or an interactive text, in a positive, supportive and interactive environment. In shared reading sessions the teacher and children sit together around a big book or an interactive whiteboard, so that all can see the print and the illustrations. The teacher or a child points to the print and the children join in, reading at their own level of expertise. It enables the teacher to focus on discussions and demonstrations of strategies that can be used to make meaning from print. It also enables teachers to demonstrate the use and integration of semantic and syntactic cues to work out unfamiliar words and the use of graphophonic cues to confirm or change predictions made.

Guided Reading
Guided reading is a procedure that enables teachers to observe a small group of children (no more than eight) as they develop understanding of reading processes and practice their literacy skills. The group reads books assigned by the teacher. The teacher facilitates discussion and guides, or directs the readers. Groups are sometimes, but not always, ability groups. They are formed according to children’s needs and the purpose of the session.

Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal Teaching is a strategy that asks students and teachers to share the role of teacher by allowing both to lead the discussion about a given reading. Reciprocal Teaching involves four strategies that guide the discussion: predicting, question generating, summarizing and clarifying.  Reciprocal Teaching is a great way to teach students how to determine important ideas from a reading while discussing vocabulary, developing ideas and questions and summarising information. It can be used across several content areas; it works particularly well with textbooks and non-fiction text.

Independent reading
Children learn to read by reading and by seeing others read. The ultimate aim of any reading program must be to produce independent readers. All children, therefore, even the very young, need to be given daily opportunities to read independently. By allocating time for children’s independent reading, teachers are able to reinforce the idea that reading is a valued and worthwhile pastime and to encourage children to engage in real reading.

Karama Read Every Day (KRED)
KRED is the name of the designated reading time across the school running from 1.30 – 1.45 daily where off class staff (SESA, AO and Senior Staff), are distributed into classrooms across the school.  Staff read one on one with children in their designated class for the time provided.  Children should be encouraged to read books that interest them to promote the love of reading

Home Reading
Daily home reading is an integral part of Karama School’s reading approach and is implemented throughout all years of schooling.  The aim is for all students to improve their reading skills and become independent readers who are able to select their own material from a variety of sources and range of formats.  It allows students to practise reading strategies taught in classroom reading sessions, it develops sound reading habits and fosters a true appreciation for reading.

The Gradual Release Model of Responsibility
The Gradual Release of Responsibility is a research-based instructional model developed by Pearson and Gallagher (1993). In this optimal learning model, the responsibility for task completion shifts gradually over time from the teacher to the student.

I DO  
Teacher Students  
·         Communicates Learning Intention and Success Criteria

·         Explains

·         Models

·         Uses thinks aloud

·         Shows ‘how to do it’

·         Actively listens

·         Asks for clarification

·         Ask questions

·         Take notes

·         May participate on a limited basis



Teacher Students
·         Works with students

·         Prompts and gives clues

·         Provides additional modelling

·         demonstrates

·         Meets with small groups

·         Asks and responds to questions

·         Works with the teacher and classmates

·         Completes process alongside others


Teacher Students
·         Evaluates

·         Determines level of understanding

·         Provides feedback

·         Roving and conferencing

·         Provides support

·         Practice and consolidates learning

·         Self-monitors

·         Works with peers to achieve learning outcome

·         Takes full responsibility for outcome


The Gradual Release Model of Responsibility – The Reading Hour


(10-15 mins)

PURPOSE:                                                                                                      TEACHING STRATEGIES

  1. Provide opportunities for the teacher to:                               Reading to students

·         Communicate learning intention                                             Shared Reading

and success criteria with students                                          Language Experience

·         Demonstrate enjoyment in reading

·         Encourage language development

·         Model effective reading behaviours

·         Focus on a specific reading strategy

at either a word, sentence or text level


Teacher Directed Session (WE DO)





·         Focus on specific reading strategy

·         Support students at their instructional reading level

·         Assessment of student reading skills and behaviours




·         Select texts based on student needs, interests or inquiry

·         Tunes students in to themes, concepts

·         Provides book summary and picture walk

·         Activates prior knowledge through purposeful questioning

·         Roves and listens to individual students read, only interrupting if meaning is lost

·         Explicitly teachers a skill or strategy identified in observations

·         Provides follow up support tasks


·         Consolidate and practise reading skills and strategies learned in guided reading, reciprocal reading or whole class instruction





·         What makes an effective, independent reading task?

·         What do students do when they finish?






·         Provide opportunities for students to:

·         Share what they can do, say, make  and write about their reading

·         Share reading strategies

·         Articulate thinking processes and make connections to your learning

·         Refer back to learning intention and success criteria


Points to consider:

What strategies and structures do you need to put in place to optimise learning time


 The Gradual Release Model of Responsibility – Shared Reading

Shared Reading with a small group Shared reading with a whole class
Time:  15 – 20 per group

·         Number of Students per group:  2 – 8 (early and emerging readers, ideal for students reading at levels 1 – 3)

Time: 5 – 20 minutes (at the beginning of the reading lesson usually used to model a reading strategy/skill/understanding)
Selecting Text for small group:

·         Individual copy of text or enlarged text

·         Consider genre (works best with predictive/repeated/rhyming text for Early Readers)

·         Consider M.S.V – which support are you after?

·         Does not have to be the whole book – can be a section or page

Selecting Text for the whole class:

·         Individual copy of text or enlarged text

·         Consider genre

·         Consider M.S.V – which support are you after?

·         Does not have to be the whole book – can be a section, chapter, article, magazine, short story, poem


·         Teacher introduce the story – talking about the title, cover and page

·         Teacher conducts a picture walk through the book – specifically pointing out character actions or events, asking probing questions


·         First reading is for enjoyment

·         Teacher points to each word as it is read

·         Students are asked to follow along with their eyes

·         Teacher may pause, asking students to predict a word, phrase or to make predictions about what is happening

·         Teacher may ask students to confirm their prediction

·         Text could be re-read (at a later time)

·         Teacher uses ‘think aloud’ to explain thinking, strategy and process

During the second reading:

·         Allow for students to chime in with familiar words and phrases

·         Students and teacher can take turns reading

After Reading / Discussion(after first reading): 

·         Teacher can take students back to the teaching point – weather at a word or text level

·         Allow students the opportunity to talk about their thinking

·         Ask open-ended question to help students build connection to the text by activating students’ prior knowledge to the theme or main idea

After Reading / Discussion(after second reading): 

·         Independent task may support shared reading focus





The Gradual Release Model of Responsibility – Guided Reading

Time:  15 – 20 per group Number of Students per group:  2 – 8
Number of groups per session:  Working towards 2 guided reading groups per session

Provide opportunities for regular running records to be taken at the completion of lesson

Selecting Text:

·         Text should be within a supportive level

·         Individual copy of text

·         Consider genre

·         Consider M.S.V – which support are you after?

·         Does not have to be the whole book – can be a section, chapter, article, magazine, short story, poem

Tuning in:

Short sharp – like a blurb, in one – two sentences


Book Introduction (Picture/text walk though):  3 mins

·         Fact or opinion?

·         Genre?

·         Vocab – new, reinforcing know words, challenging or interesting words

·         Talk in the tense of the text

·         Introduce characters names – give names proper nouns

·         Use book vocab and sentence structures

·         Special features – content page, glossary, index (organisational structures)

·         Activating prior knowledge

Before Reading:  Getting Knowledge Ready

What do you already know about the topic/word in the title/picture on the cover

Text to Text, Text to World



What do you think the text will be about?

What do you think might happen?



What pictures are you seeing in your mind?

Which words might help you?



What words might we find in the text?  List words

Revise high frequency words covered in the text



What questions do you have about the text?

What questions might the text answer?

During Reading – Independent Reading 5-8 mins (depending on the number of students in the group)

·         Teacher to establish expectations for students who finish reading first (read text again, read with a buddy)

·         Students may need to re-read book for fluency

·         Each child to read quietly to one’s self

·         Teacher roves and listens, prompting when necessary, using MSV strategies

·         No unnecessary interruptions

·         Self-monitoring

·         Teacher monitors strategies being used

After Reading / Discussion:  3 mins

·         Discuss strategies used by the reader

·         Brief discussion focusing on meaning and vocab

·         Revisit vocab predicted in text

·         Students invited to share responses

·         Confirm predictions


The Gradual Release Model of Responsibility – Reciprocal Reading

Time:  30 mins per group Number of Students per group:  4-8
Number of groups per session:

Depending on students experience with process and support provided by teacher




Selecting Text:

·         Texts should be within a supportive level

·         Individual copy of text

·         Consider genre

·         Does not have to be the whole text – can be a section, chapter, article, magazine, short story, poem



Before Reading:  Activate Background Knowledge

What do you already know about the topic

Text to Self, Text to Text, Text to World Connections


If using specific student roles, allocate roles


What do you think the text will be about?

What do you think might happen?



During Reading


Students clarify any words, phrases or ideas that they do not understand

–  What words phrases or ideas do you not understand?



What questions do you have about the text?

What questions might the text answer?


After Reading


Revisit and revise initial predictions



Students clarify any words, phrases or ideas that they do not understand

–  What words phrases or ideas do you not understand?



What questions do you have about the text?

What questions might the text answer?



Students summarise main idea of the text read

karamaImplementation of Writing
To be investigated in 2018. Currently at Karama School we encourage teachers to utilise both the First Steps Writing resource and the Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey, The Writing Book to scaffold the teaching and learning of writing. Teachers are expected to refer to the Curriculum Map when referring to writing genres taught within the year level.

Implementation of Spelling
At Karama School spelling is conducted via the Soundwaves Spelling Program.  This program is implemented in Year 2. We encourage parts of the program to be used earlier so all children are familiar with the resources.  The SoundWaves phonemic approach uses a sound-to-letter strategy which acknowledges that sounds can be represented more than one way in written form. This synthetic phonics approach focuses first on the basic units of sound in our language – phonemes. It then explores the letters that represent these sounds and how they can be put together to form written words.

At Karama School teachers are expected to run a half hour long spelling lesson 4 days a week.  These lessons must be small group, explicit in their nature with differentiated learning as their focus.


A weekly program should consist of the following elements:

  • Pre-testing
  • Sound (grapheme) –level tasks
  • Word-level tasks
  • Whole class, group and independent activities
  • Differentiated activities
  • Post-testing

The program consists of:

  • Teacher Book
  • Student workbook (available for all students in Year 2 – 6)
  • Classroom posters and flashcards
  • CD with songs and rhymes
  • Online – printable games and activities, student access available (http://www.fireflyeducation.com.au/soundwaves/)


Implementation of Oral Language

Oral language is the foundation of all student learning and social interactions. It is essential for literacy learning, which underpins learning across the curriculum. Effective use of oral language is critical for students’ social, emotional and academic wellbeing.  (Sheena Cameron & Louise Dempsey, 2016)

At Karama School teachers are expected to embed effective Oral Language practise across all curriculum areas. Karama Schools whole school approach to oral language is derived from the practical, evidence based resource of Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey utilising ‘The Oral Language Book, Embedding talk across the curriculum.’ Each classroom teacher is assigned this resource and it is expected to be utilised and evident in teacher planning documents.

Assessing Oral Language is ongoing throughout the semesters however, all teachers are expected to complete an assessment of oral language for all their students each semester using the rubric available at,

Teacher Public – Oral Language – Oral Language Rubric.

Teachers will select the rubric that is appropriate to their year level taught.

PLD (Promoting Literacy Development)

As a core resource for teaching Oral Language in Early Childhood, the PLD Program is expected to be planned for and assessed for classes within the T- 2 year level.

Literacy involves more than just recognising words on a page. To be truly literate – and to have the capability of excelling in every part of life – students must be able to speak well, interpret what they’re hearing and transfer all of this to the written language. It’s this three pronged focus that sets PLD Learning Resources apart. Importantly, it’s a strategic approach guaranteeing the best results for the children in your care. Only when skills in all three skill set areas have been sufficiently acquired, will a student’s literacy-learning based outcomes be maximised.

PLD’s range of products and services represent a unique and distinctive integration of recent research findings and best practice in the disciplines of speech pathology, occupational therapy and education.

The three components of the PLD Learning Resources Skills Set Approach to Literacy are:

assessmentDiana Rigg, https://pld-literacy.org/


From NT Board of Studies Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Guidelines

Program Based Assessments are used in conjunction with a program that is being implemented at Karama.  They are used on a predominantly formative basis, to guide practice and ascertain means for ongoing differentiation within the classroom.  These include:

M100W Magic 100 Words,

Running Records based on classroom texts and assess students working levels of reading.  They are conducted one on one and inform teachers of reading habits, fluency, accuracy and comprehension of the text.

 Soundwaves has a range of assessments that can be flexible in implementation by the classroom teacher.  They include weekly pre and post-tests, readiness tests and end of year assessments.  Soundwaves assessments are used regularly to gauge students’ progress of phoneme and grapheme use in spelling and writing.

Diagnostic Assessments are used to provide a snapshot of student growth overtime.  Acting as a formative assessment, they inform practice and provide checks/balances of programs, content and pedagogies implemented, and their effectiveness on student performance.  They also check for fluency of knowledge and understanding, transferring ideas into unfamiliar contexts.  Furthermore, diagnostic assessments can identify students requiring additional support by way of intervention or extension.  The Department of Education provides the following assessment tools to assist the collection of diagnostic data:

PM Benchmark Resources have been designed to explicitly assess students’ instructional and independent reading levels using unseen, meaningful texts. They provide accurately levelled fiction and non-fiction texts ranging progressively from emergent levels to reading age 12.

Probe is used to provide an assessment for older students that gives the in-depth data of a running record.  It assesses reading accuracy, reading behaviour and reading comprehension. It may also be used as a measure of silent reading comprehension and listening comprehension.

PAT Reading is a thoroughly researched and normed test for measuring and tracking student achievement in reading comprehension, word knowledge and spelling. It provides teachers with objective information for setting realistic learning goals and planning effective programs.

PAT Spelling is designed to assess students’ understanding of the standard Australian English language conventions of grammar and punctuation, it comprises two components: Written spelling (Years 2 – 10) and Grammar and Punctuation (Years 3 – 10).

PAT-SPG has been developed especially, but not exclusively, for use in Australian schools. It provides teachers with objective information about students’ spelling, punctuation and grammar skills so that realistic learning goals can be set and effectiveness of teaching strategies can be monitored.

PLD – Pre Literacy Screening investigates students’ development in phonological awareness and alphabetical knowledge, core skills which predict early literacy achievement.

FELA – The Foundations of Early Literacy Assessment territory is an assessment tool designed to identify and monitor student mastery of the alphabetic code in English.  


  • Konza 2011
  • The Big 6 – Literacy Literature Review for Evidence Based Practices Framework
  • PLD (Promoting Literacy Development, Diana Rigg
  • Sheena Cameron & Louise Dempsey, Oral Language & Writing
  • Soundwaves, Firefly Education
  • First Steps, Writing Resource book, 1997
  • The Smarter Schools National Partnership on Literacy and Numeracy is a joint initiative of the Australian Government and the Department of Education and Training Northern Territory Government.
  • Evidence based Literacy and Numeracy Practices framework 2010
  • Research into Practice: Understanding the reading process decs.sa.gov.au/literacy
  • Iaquinta, A. (2006). Guided Reading: A Researched-Based Response to the Challenges of Early Reading Instruction. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33. .
  • Daily Five
  • A.F.E