At St John the Apostle Parish School, staff and students are encouraged to be committed to lifelong learning that is relevant, enriched and passionate, and which uses the best of learning energies for everybody.

This supports the understanding that learning is an individual, as well as a shared experience and that ultimately, the need for learning is the whole reason 'school' as we now know it came into existence.

Learning to be Literate:  Learning to Read; Reading to Learn


At St John the Apostle School we know that reading comprehension is critical to student success at school and beyond. Reading forms a significant part of all student learning and impacts every curriculum area. Over the past 3 years there has been a major focus on professional learning about the most powerful teaching and learning practices to support reading success. This process is ongoing as more research about the science of reading unfolds. Current research identifies 6 criteria for reading success:

  1. Oral language
  2. Phonemic awareness
  3. Phonics
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Fluency
  6. Comprehension

These reading behaviours are not used or learned in isolation and are explicitly taught in R-7. They are also essential skills for students to develop as writers and spellers. Read on to discover the key programs we use across the school to develop the literacies of our learners and to maintain consistency across all year levels.

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar

Jolly Phonics is a systematic, sequential, phonics program designed to teach children the 42 sounds of the English language. Students are then taken through the stages of blending and segmenting words to develop reading and writing skills. In this program students develop phonemic awareness through a variety of activities and to hear sounds at a very early age. The Jolly Grammar program continues on from the Jolly Phonics with spelling and grammar strategies that further reading development. R-4 students benefit most from this program

Reciprocal Reading

This reading routine supports our R-7 learners to develop their oral language, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency by teaching them to”

  • Predict (words, type of text, content, characters etc)
  • Clarify (words, ideas)
  • Question (text, ideas, author’s purpose)
  • Summarise (what has been read).

Each of these key comprehension strategies are taught explicitly and developmentally. A curriculum map with a continuum of learning is currently being developed.

Oxford Word List

Being able to automatically recognise a range of words supports reading development. Once students can do this, learning to spell the words accurately assists them as writers. The Oxford Word list (OWL) has been developed from researching the most common words used in the writing of more than 4000 Australian children. It has been selected as the sight word resource for all our R-7 learners. More information can be located at www.oup.com.au or by speaking to your child’s teacher about the lists being used in their learning area.

  • All R-3 teachers have been trained in and issued with relevant Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar texts
  • Reading materials that support the Reciprocal Reading routine are available R-7 and continue to be updated
  • OWL resources for assessment and instruction are available R-7.


  • Parent information sessions and workshops
  • Literacy Blocks are established across the school
  • A minimum of 300 minutes per week of explicit literacy instruction in all 3-7 learning areas.
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