A love of literature

This year saw the introduction of an innovative new learning model in the Seymour College Junior School, focusing on best practice by allowing for targeted small group teaching and learning across all year levels. In particular, students in Years 2 to 5 take part in intensive English and Mathematics classes with specialised teachers. This model allows teachers to identify and meet the needs of each of the students through a highly effective individualised approach to delivering lessons each day.

Our English lessons have many components, utilising explicit and inquiry teaching strategies and by unpacking spelling, reading and writing skills through quality literature units and comprehensive novel studies.

This semester Year 3 and 4 students have had the opportunity to study a range of rich quality literature such as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mary Poppins, Duck for a Day and The Elephant. There is always much excitement as titles are introduced and anticipation as the prized possession of each student's very own novel is handed out. The girls delight in predicting and inferring what the novel will be about by looking at the cover and reading the blurb.

The novel study lessons are incredibly valuable as they cover a comprehensive amount of the English Curriculum, simply by sharing the joy of a book together in our targeted groups. The novel study allows the girls to be exposed to a variety of texts that can inspire a love of reading for enjoyment, as well as providing a tool to gain knowledge and new perspectives on the world they live in.

The girls have the opportunity to contribute to a guided analysis of the novel through group discussions surrounding a particular focus such as vocabulary, literary devices, spelling choices or the function of grammar. The novel study also gives the girls the opportunity to utilise this discussion and subsequent learning in their own literary responses and connections to the novel they are reading. Throughout these sessions, the girls learn from each other as they listen and are exposed to others’ opinions, ideas and knowledge.

As the specialised teacher of an English targeted small group, I am incredibly fortunate to be able to observe and gain insights into the girls' learning styles and celebrate their successes as they study the English Curriculum. This also means that I have invaluable insights to each of my students which, in turn, guides my future planning and teaching. Moreover, I am simply lucky enough to enjoy sharing quality literature and novels every day as my students and I read and appreciate books together.

Promoting a love of literature and a love of reading is the key to unlocking each child’s potential and something we take great pride in at Seymour College Junior School.

Fran Bennett
Junior School English Teacher