An intensive literacy program at Virginia Primary School is having a big impact on student learning and reading success.
The school’s MiniLit program, which was first introduced to the school in 2015, is an evidence based, explicit reading program targeting Year 1 students.
The program has a committed team of four trained and enthusiastic school support officers (SSO) who conduct sessions with groups of up to four children for 45 minutes four mornings a week.
With a high proportion of children coming from a non-English speaking background, MiniLit coordinator, Robyn Lewis, says the program sets students up with sound reading foundations.
“Students who have English as an additional language benefit greatly as they have lots of opportunities to talk as well,” Ms Lewis said.
“Having developed good decoding skills, a better understanding of punctuation and comprehension, these students have a good foundation to become successful
“The success rate is high and children who complete the program have fun, support each other, learn to work as a team, share and take turns.”
On entry to the program students are assessed and grouped.
Each group moves through a structured weekly program, with each lesson comprising three main components; sound and word activities, text reading and comprehension and story book reading.
Some of the focus areas of the program include letter combinations and blending of sounds, spelling, sight words, reading fluency, vocabulary, digraphs, and phoneme manipulation.
Students are introduced to these ideas through a variety of engaging and hands-on activities including flashcards, sound boxes, letter tiles, writing, diction and word games.
The program is run before the start of the school day and is a big commitment by staff, students, parents and caregivers.
“This program is massive,” Ms Lewis said.
“Parents are very supportive and some stay for part of the session so that they can use similar strategies at home.”
The school also offers the program during the day for those students unable to make the morning sessions.