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 analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others and with the world around them. 


Literacy blocks at St Finbar’s support the teaching of English, as laid out in the Victorian Curriculum, by developing the literacy skills and knowledge of students in a differentiated and targeted manner. Literacy Blocks include the daily practice of reading, spelling, grammar, writing and speaking and listening. We explicitly teach strategies for these areas at a whole class, small group and student level across 10 hours of Literacy each week.


SMART Spelling Approach 

We follow a whole school Scope and Sequence to ensure consistent progression in letter/sound development. Students are explicitly taught spelling patterns one at a time during teaching sessions and are guided to choose words to practise that meet their individual needs. 



Reading is planned with a clear focus which includes learning intentions and success criteria. These are  visible to students and discussed throughout the learning experience. Each reading session includes a whole class modelled or shared read with a specific focus on one or more of the CAFE - Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Extending Vocabulary strategies. Students are explicitly taught comprehension skills and are given opportunities to practise how and when to utilise the strategies in order to help them make sense of what they are reading.



Writing sessions at St Finbar’s are designed around the VCOP and Big Write approach, with the 7 Steps Writing Program being used as a supportive resource. Each classroom conducts 4-5 sessions per week. These sessions incorporate explicit teaching and modelling of:

  • word work 
  • grammar
  • spelling
  • punctuation 
  • speaking and listening - oral language 
  • Big talk 
  • revising 
  • self- editing  
  • feedback 

This is based on individual student goals - in preparation for a weekly/fortnightly whole class Big Write session.


Speaking and Listening 

Oral language is used to support writing and enrich vocabulary from P-6. 

Opportunities for speaking and listening include:

  • Genius hour
  • Topic based presentations (Expo)
  • Speaking with Power
  • Circle time
  • Topic /theme based projects 
  • Big talk discussions


Reading Recovery


Each year, students in Year 1 who are having difficulty learning to read and write are selected for a series of Reading Recovery lessons. Reading Recovery enables children to become active and independent readers and writers, who are better able to join in the daily literary activities of the classroom.


Reading Recovery is a short-term intervention which

  • Is supplementary to the classroom reading and writing program
  • Involves one teacher and one child working together daily for 30-minute lessons
  • Engages children in reading books and writing their own stories
  • Foster success and independence in reading