At CNPS, we aim to foster a life-long love of reading and writing. We begin the students’ literacy journeys through our phonics-based program, Write to Read. As the students’ skills develop, we teach them the more complex elements of writing, through our writing program, V.C.O.P. (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation). Students play word and grammar games and practise the skills in mini-lessons. They demonstrate their understanding through our weekly Big Writes (a celebration of writing).The students are taught to self-assess, analyse and set goals on their writing. From Prep to Grade 6, the students are provided with a wide range of imaginative and informative texts which provide opportunities for children to question, make connections, infer meaning and develop deeper understandings about their world.
The strengths of our Literacy Program are:
- Daily two hour literacy sessions incorporating key teaching approaches including explicit teaching, focus groups and modelled reading and writing.
- Regular professional development that equips all teachers with the skills and knowledge required for effective literacy teaching.
- Additional assistance to complement and support the classroom program with Reading Intervention for Year One.
- Development of strong home-school partnerships through communication and the delivery of the Book Basket Reading program.
- Individual Learning Plans for students requiring additional support.
- Literacy and curriculum coordinators who ensure that all features of the literacy program are implemented consistently, and lead whole-school commitment to all aspects of the program.
VCOP & Big Write
What is VCOP and Big Write?
VCOP and Big Write is a teaching program based on the research of Ros Wilson, an expert based in the UK. It focuses on four main aspects of the writing process (VCOP) and provides children with the skills to improve their own writing through self-assessment. We have four mascots that represent each section of VCOP.
V is for Vocabulary:
Vinnie Vocabulary is our vocabulary mascot. He assists students in the use of “WOW words” in their writing. Wow words are words that are also known as ambitious vocabulary; this is based on the student’s age and ability.
C is for Connectives:
Connie Connectives is our connectives mascot. She supports students in using connectives (joining words) to change their simple sentences into complex sentences.
O is for Openers:
Ollie Opener is our openers mascot. Ollie encourages students to use varied sentence starters to enhance the quality of their writing.
P is for Punctuation:
Penny Punctuation is our punctuation mascot. Children are taught the names of the different types of punctuation and they learn to use them in their writing.
BIG WRITE – Prep-2*
The Big Write is a celebration of students’ learning and is generally conducted on a Thursday. The biggest difference between Big Write and the “everyday” writing session is the environment. The lights are tuned off, special fairy lights are turned on and quiet music is playing. Students are not allowed to talk to each other and the teacher takes this time to conference with students one to one and look at their individual writing goals. On a Monday, Talk Homework is sent home to allow the students opportunities to talk about their upcoming writing.
*Students in Grades 3-6 complete Talk Homework and Big Writes on a fortnightly basis.
BREAKDOWN BUDDIES AND SELF-ASSESSING OF BIG WRITES:
The day after the students complete a Big Write, they analyse their work by highlighting the VCOP elements, edit and up-level (improve), and self-assess their writing piece using a rubric. Next, they work with a classmate (“breakdown buddy”) who gives them feedback about What Worked Well (WWW) and Even Better If (EBI). They then use this information to set a goal for their next Big Write.
A Cold Write is where students are not given the opportunity to talk about the topic before writing and the learning aides are removed. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate what they know without the assistance of external resources. Cold Writes are usually completed once per term.
Talk Homework (Big Talk) is sent home to allow the students opportunities to talk about their writing, gain ideas from family and friends and to assist in making the most out of their Big Write session.