Pre-Primary (WA), Kindergarten (NSW/ACT), Prep (QLD / VIC / TAS), Reception (SA), Transition (NT)
The Foundation Year is one of the most important years in a child’s schooling. The delivery of Structured Synthetic Phonics (SSP) instruction combined with the regular term by term tracking of skill development to inform teaching, will enable the majority of students to achieve a positive start to their schooling. This is an extract from PLD’s 2020 Whole School Literacy Strategy pages 9-14. You can request complimentary printed copies or download a version for your school here.
Setting your students up for success in the new school year with PLD involves three components:
- Student screening and tracking
- Investing in your Professional Development
- Having the right programs
How do we start preparing to implement PLD in Foundation?
Key PLD dates to note in Term 1
- Week 1: Download the 2020 Monitoring and Tracking Spreadsheets.
- Weeks 1 – 5: Movement and Motor – Explicit instruction in general letter formation – s, a, t, p, i, n.
- Weeks 1 – 6: Literacy – Daily explicit instruction of essential pre-literacy skills – Alphabet Sounds, Lower-case Letter Formation, Phonemic Awareness skills of blending three phonemes (for decoding) and segmentation (for spelling).
- Weeks 1 & 2: Oral Language – ‘Show and Tell’, for example – Australian Animals.
- Weeks 3 & 4: Oral Language – ‘Show and Tell’, for example – Transport.
- Weeks 5 & 6: Oral Language – ‘Show and Tell’, for example – Mini-beasts (or insects).
- Week 6 or 7: Literacy – Following daily explicit instruction, review how the pre-literacy skills are developing using the short subtests from the Foundation Pre-literacy Screen. This will take approximately 3 minutes per child. Don’t forget to track your progress in the 2020 Monitoring and Tracking Spreadsheets.
- Weeks 6 – 10: Movement and Motor – Explicit instruction in general letter formation – m, r, h, e, d, c.
- Weeks 7 & 8: Oral Language – ‘Show and Tell’, for example – Furniture.
- Weeks 8 & 9: Oral Language – ‘Show and Tell’, for example – Objects brought in from home.
- Week 10: Literacy – Repeat the Foundation Pre-literacy Screen subtests to determine the students who have sufficient alphabet knowledge and blending ability to support decoding which is scheduled to commence from Term 2. Don’t forget to track your progress in the 2020 Monitoring and Tracking Spreadsheets, ready for Term 2.
Whole Year Scope and Sequence Overview
While some of the children will progress faster and some slower, this plan is for the bulk of the children. Download PLD’s whole year scope and sequence overview for Early Years to Year 6 here.
Let’s break it down further …
Foundation Year – Literacy – Term 1 focus
Pre-literacy instruction: Preparing for reading and spelling. Explicit Instruction: In order to prepare students for the early literacy program scheduled from Term 2, first pre-reading and pre-spelling skills need to be targeted. This targeted instruction must commence from week 1 in Term 1 and be delivered through both whole class teaching and small group work. The following four pre-literacy skills require simultaneous instruction throughout Term 1.
- Skill Area 1: Alphabet Sounds (with an emphasis on lower case and sounds). Suggested program: Alphabet Sound Charts – Foundation Font.
- Skill Area 2: Lower-Case Letter Formation. Suggested program: Letter Formation for Little People – Foundation Font – Step 2.
- Skill Area 3: Phonemic Awareness: Blending 3 Phonemes (for decoding). Suggested program: Learning to Blend Three Phonemes.
- Skill Area 4: Phonemic Awareness: Segmentation (for spelling). Suggested program: Learning to Segment CVC Words.
Progress Check: In week 6 or 7, following daily explicit instruction, review how the pre-literacy skills are developing with your students using the short Subtests from the Foundation Pre-literacy Screen. The tests are Subtest 1B: CVC Phonemic Level Blending, Subtest 2: Alphabet Sound Knowledge, Subtest 3: Segmentation of CVC Words and Subtest 4 (optional): Alphabet Sound Recall and Formation. Each screen should take approximately 3 minutes per child. Don’t forget to log your student progress in the tracking sheets.
Why screen Subtests in week 6 or 7 of the term following an intensive period of explicit teaching and skill development? If students are scoring under 80% by mid-term, this suggests that additional small group work is required to develop the key skill (or skills). If the screen is presented at the end of the year or end of the term, then this leaves no time to focus on the students who are struggling to acquire the skills. Mid-term checks allow for intervention to be diverted to students who require assistance earlier.
During week 10, after 3 or 4 further weeks of instruction, repeat the Foundation Pre-literacy Screen Subtests from Week 6/7. By logging your students progress in the tracking sheets, you will be able to determine which students have now acquired sufficient alphabet knowledge and blending ability. These skills are essential to support decoding which is scheduled to commence from Term 2. The data collected in the tracking sheets will also identify those students who need more targeted instruction.
Catering for Range in Ability: Based on the results of the testing in week 10, create three ability groups, so that targeted group teaching can be scheduled from the outset in Term 2. For more information on how to set up your teaching groups and how to establish a consistent screening and tracking process, click here.
Foundation Year – Oral Language – Term 1.
Speaking in Grammatically Correct and Lengthy Sentences – Object Description or ‘Show and Tell’. Explicit Instruction. Schedule daily 5-10 minute sessions. Rather than students bringing in objects from home, base your descriptions on semantic groups or a targeted collection of objects. For example, in weeks 1 & 2: Australian Animals, weeks 3 & 4: Transport, weeks 5 & 6: Mini-beasts (or insects), weeks 7 & 8: Furniture and finally in weeks 9 & 10: Objects brought in from home. Suggested program: Developing News Telling and Narrative Skills for 5 Year Olds
Vocabulary and Semantic Development. Specifically for students with oral language difficulties (10 minutes, once or twice a week). Vocabulary and Syntax – Explicit Instruction. Vocabulary with carrier sentences should be modelled by adults. The children can copy and then self generate their response based upon the following suggested semantic categories, fruit and vegetables, under the Sea or Weather and Seasons. Supplement the program cards with semantic-based counters so that the enjoyment is maximised while engaging in repeated oral language practice. Suggested program: 10 Minute Language Games – Set 2
Download the PLD Semantic Development Milestones guide for distribution to parents and guardians at the start of term.
Progress Check (optional). An end of semester progress check is located within Semantics Scenes and Questioning – Set 2. This information can be used to demonstrate progress and/or used to accompany a referral to a speech pathologist.
Boost Reading Comprehension (through the facilitation of a home program). Scripted Picture Book Comprehension Questions Instructions
- Provide a book with its corresponding scripted question card each week. Suggested Program: Comprehension Questions for 5 Year Olds
- Share this Parent training video with your parents and guardians.
Progress Check (optional) The comprehension questions program includes a targeted progress check. You can download the Foundation comprehension progress check here. The check can be presented mid-year and/or at the end of the year. The information will provide evidence of progress and/or can be used to accompany a referral to a speech pathologist.
Foundation Year – Movement and Motor – Term 1 focus
Gross Motor: Promoting core strength and good posture. In order to encourage good core strength and posture, we suggest the repeated practice of activities such as ball kicking, throwing and catching, hopping and skipping activities and balancing on one foot at a time.
Fine Motor: Promoting functional pencil grasp and efficient handwriting. For more information on types of paper and pencils to use, click here. PLD recommends repeated practice of the following activities: threading small beads, tweezer, and tong activities, using dominant and helper hand together, letter formation with an emphasis on verbal cues, starting points, and direction for s, a, t, p, i, n & m, r, h, e, d, c.
General Letter Formation. Explicit Instruction. Weeks 1-5: Group 1 – s, a, t, p, i, n and Weeks 6-10: Group 2 – m, r, h, e, d, c. PLD’s Structured Synthetic Phonics (SSP) alphabet letter of presentation order is matched with the letter formation order. In this way, when learning the alphabet sounds students are simultaneously learning to write the alphabet sounds. For more information on the grouping structure, see the suggested program: Letter Formation for Little People – Step 2. When teaching letter formation, the tasks should facilitate the repeated practice of letters with starting points and letter shapes. Students then progress to tasks that remove the letter shapes and provide starting points only.
Progress Check (optional): Foundation Pre-Literacy Screen – Subtest 4: Alphabet Sound Recall & Formation.
For a general Movement and Motor guide, download PLD’s Fine and Gross Motor development milestones – Now that I am 5 and Now that I am 6 years old or the Foundation Year Language, Literacy and Motor milestones here. These guides are an ideal resource to photocopy and give to parents at the start of the new school year.
Your Term 1 Foundation Year Checklist
1. Do I have the current PLD screening tools?
Each screen is available to download directly from the PLD site. Each of the PLD Screens has been updated for 2020. If you haven’t already, click here to download the revised versions.
2. Do I have the 2020 versions of the PLD tracking sheets?
3. Have I downloaded and read all of the relevant PLD information for Foundation?
These downloads include the PLD Whole School Literacy Strategy and The Pathway of Pre-Literacy into Early Literacy and the Foundation Year developmental milestones I should expect my students to be achieving.
4. Have I read through PLD’s 2020 checklist?
You can view the full Foundation Year checklist here.
5. Have I shared the PLD process with the parents in my classroom?
PLD believes that school and home must work together in order to have an effective start to the Foundation Year. PLD has created a range of parent information videos that are available to view here.
6. Have I downloaded the resources I need for running a successful Parent Information Night?
If not, you can download them here.
As always, we are on hand to help implement the PLD process in your school. If at any time you need any assistance with the above or any PLD programs you can get in touch with us by email to [email protected]. Wishing you all the best for Term 1.
Don’t forget to check back here late in Term 1 for What to teach? When to screen? and how to cater for the range of ability in your classroom and how you can adjust your data and teaching groups ready for Term 2.