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Literacy at PAC

18 March 2021

Being literate is a non-negotiable goal in our work as teachers, and at PAC we strive to ensure we deliver evidence based, high quality instruction to our boys from day one.

For the past 5 decades research studies in both classrooms and clinics have repeatedly found that explicit teaching in foundational reading skills; phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension and oral language provides students with a clear learning advantage. An advantage we prioritise and apply as foundation to the teaching and assessment of literacy at PAC.

As boys enter Reception a more formal approach to literacy is taken. Both international and local research has shown repeatedly that children in the early years of schooling must master the alphabetic code via systematic, explicit and intensive instruction and at PAC we use the Jolly phonics programme. It has the added benefit of actions to reinforce sounds creating a multisensory way to connect the sound symbol relationship. The pace is fast ensuring boys master the code quickly and can then apply it practically.

Interestingly the biggest predictor of long-term reading success is phonemic awareness in the early years. To give our boys this advantage all R-2 classes participate in daily phonemic awareness activities through the evidence base Heggerty programme. It is quick, fun and through repetition builds skill and success enabling boys to confidently manipulate word in both their reading and spelling.

The often ‘assumed’ side to literacy instruction is that of oral language, vocabulary and comprehension. At PAC we take nothing for granted and ensure we extend and scaffold out boys through explicit instruction, so these skills are strong. We know that is impossible to write what you can’t say and so our writing starts with a weekly talk, ‘Big Talk’, to explicitly teach and build the language required to produce the writing.

Finally, we know young boys are still developing and growing into their bodies, quick bursts of intensive instruction are received much better than long effortful concentration. In Reception our boys participate in daily fine motor and oral language rotations. Activities that specifically build both physical muscles for handwriting but also the cognitive connections and stamina required to participate fully in the classroom.

Literacy at PAC is dynamic, fun and engaging. While maintaining curriculum rigour through evidence-based instruction and teacher commitment, our boys build skill, confidence and importantly enthusiasm to achieve lifelong literacy success.

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