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Teaching reading


rocket science. 

- Louisa Moats


At St Mary’s Primary School, English instruction is explicit, systematic and strongly grounded in evidence based research. Our leaders and educators draw on the research and work of many scholars, including Lyn Stone, Pamela Snow, Maureen Pollard, Tim Rasinski, Judith C. Hochman and Lorraine Hammond and refer to the findings of the Australian (2005), UK (2006) and US (2000) National Inquiries into Reading.

Lesson design is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum as well as learning and reading science, developing competencies across the five pillars of reading: 

  • Phonological Awareness  - the ability to identify, isolate and manipulate the distinct individual sounds in spoken words

  • Phonics - the ability to decode words using knowledge of letter-sound relationships

  • Fluency - reading with speed and accuracy

  • Vocabulary - knowing the meaning of a wide variety of words and the structure of written language

  • Comprehension - Understanding the meaning and intent of the text



Daily English instruction focuses on the mastery of decoding (reading) and encoding (writing) words. Decodable readers (F-2) and a range of non-fiction and fiction texts (3-6) are used to support learning.

Strategies used to build student readingwriting and spelling growth include: 

  • Research-based learning design, to provide the most effective reading, writing and spelling instruction

  • Regular use of assessment, to monitor student achievement in phonological awareness, reading fluency, spelling and writing

  • Explicit lesson design, to target the needs of all students

  • A systematic and synthetic phonics approach, to effectively teach students the alphabetic code and achieve spelling and reading mastery

  • Explicit instruction of phonemes (sounds), graphemes (letters), phonological awareness and morphology, to achieve reading and spelling mastery

  • The use of Big Write (VCOP) and the Hochman Method (Writing Revolution), to effectively teach writing at the planning, sentence and paragraph levels

  • The Debbie Hepplewhite Handwriting Program, to correctly form and join letters

  • Vocabulary building, to embed content knowledge into the teaching of writing that also strengthens comprehension.

English text anchor
How we teach reading at St Mary's School March 2022 (6)_edited.jpg

How We Teach Reading


Handwriting Script


Fluency Video

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