At Osbornes Flat PS we have a Whole School Literacy Approach. This means that we have adopted well-researched methods for teaching Literacy, and we implement these programs consistently across all year levels at our school.
One of the key benefits of a Whole School Literacy Approach is a shared and consistent language for the students and teachers to talk about learning. We support our students to be active, involved learners, and a shared, whole-school language for talking about learning is crucial for this to happen. As students progress through the school, the familiarity of the programs and the language used, fosters learning confidence, and emphasises mastering skills over time. The VCOP and Big Write Programs form a key part of our approach to teaching Writing, and the CAFE Reading program guides our approach to teaching Reading. In addition to providing structure and consistency, the nature of the programs still allow us to tailor learning to suit individual classes, small groups and individuals.
What is VCOP and Big Write?
VCOP and Big Write are teaching approach based on the research of Ros Wilson, an expert based in the UK. VCOP and Big Write are strategies for raising standards in writing that has been implemented in thousands of primary schools starting in the United Kingdom and, due to huge success, now around the world.
It focuses on four main aspects of the writing process: Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation (VCOP). The program provides children with the skills to improve their own writing through self-assessment.
The Big Write methodology is; 'if they can say it, they can write it'. With talk and communication, an imperative element of the program, it encompasses all writing levels and abilities.
Students are encouraged to be ambitious, up-level their work and focus on the elements of VCOP in their writing. By highlighting these areas as 'goals,' there has been a direct link to improved writing skills.
V= Vocabulary. Students are encouraged to use ambitious (wow) words
C= Connectives. Understanding how words are used to connect sentences, ideas and paragraphs together.
O= Openers. Using various powerful sentence openers to engage our readers.
P= Punctuation. The Power of correct punctuation is explicitly taught.
Reading is often considered the most valuable asset in curriculum due to its versatility and access towards all other learning and life opportunities. At Mentone Primary School, our whole school Reading Program is strategically designed to meet the individual learning needs of our students, focusing on key elements of reading, using the highly regarded CAFE Model.
The CAFE Reading Model specifically focuses on:
● Fluency, and
● Expanding Vocabulary
Students are explicitly taught a range of strategies that support growth in each of the four CAFE elements of reading. Teachers regularly meet with students on an individual basis and in small groups to discuss the books they are reading, to identify strengths and areas for improvement, and to provide coaching in specific reading skills. Our students love having the freedom and ability to select their own “good-fit” books to read as part of the CAFE program, which sees them highly engaged in reading sessions.