At Park Ridge we view Literacy to be an integral part of a student’s education. Reading and Writing are taught in unison, so students are able to transfer strategies and skills taught to both areas. When reading, they are encouraged to think about what techniques the author has used to engross them and then transfer these strategies into their own writing.

Mentor and Buddy Reading Programs

Reading Mentors

The Reading Mentors program has commenced for 2017.  Our fantastic Year 6 students act as mentors to students in Years 1-4.  They meet with their mentees twice a week to support them on their reading journey.

The program is designed to foster a love of reading and an understanding of how important it is to read for fun. As the year progresses hopefully we will see the development of reading skills and an enhancement in the strategies used while reading.

‘He helps me when the words are tricky’

Kevin Year 1

‘I like it when my mentor comes to see me. She always has a new book to show me’

Jade year 3

Reading Buddies

At Park Ridge we also conduct a ‘Reading Buddies’ program, that involves the whole school.  This program encourages students to develop their storytelling skills, such as using expression and changing tempo to increase engagement for the listener.  The program also enables students to connect with children in other year levels and develop and foster friendships with those older or younger.

‘I like it when Tyler brings funny books to read to me.’


‘I like spending time with my buddy’


‘We get to talk and read together’


‘I get to help my buddy improve their reading skills’


THRASS at Park Ridge

THRASS is an acronym for Teaching of Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Skills. Spelling and literacy are a priority at Park Ridge. Strategies for learning ‘how’ to spell are a very important part of the spelling process.Scientific research has shown phonics is a crucial strategy in the understanding of ‘how to spell’. This is also acknowledged in the Australian Curriculum. THRASS is based on the principle that, while there are 26 letters in the alphabet, there are 44 speech sounds (phonemes) in spoken English, furthermore, these speech sounds are represented by different letters and different combinations of letters (graphemes). The THRASS picture chart is used to explicitly teach the 44 speech sounds (phonemes) and the different spelling choices (graphemes) for each phoneme. Students learn that there are 24 consonant and 20 vowel phonemes and these are represented on the THRASS chart with corresponding words and pictures. We no longer teach spelling rules related to silent letters or the magic ‘e’.

Some Terms and Definitions


A speech sound


A letter or number of letters that represent a speech sounds- also known as a spelling choice

Vowel phoneme

One of the 20 phonemes represented in the vowel half of the THRASS chart

Consonant phoneme

One of the 24 phonemes represented in the consonant half of the THRASS chart

Phoneme Fingers

Holding up one finger at a time as each phoneme in a word is articulated in order


One letter representing one phoneme


Two letters representing one phoneme


Three letters representing one phoneme


Four letters representing one phoneme


One letter representing two phonemes, such as the ‘x’ in ‘box’  ‘X’ =  (k) and (s)


One letter representing three phonemes

Grapheme Catch-All (GCA)*

Graphemes that are not on the chart are represented in the phoneme boxes by an asterisk

How can parents help?

  • Talk with your children about the meaning of the words through reading and language experiences.
  • Explore words in a fun and meaningful way rather than simply ‘rote’ learning them. This will support your child’s literacy development in order to become a more competent and adventurous speller.

Home Reading Ideas

How to help students improve

Reading Comprehension

Comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read. To be able to accurately understand written material, children need to be able to (1) decode what they read; (2) make connections between what they read and what they already know; and (3) think deeply about what they have read.

One big part of comprehension is having a sufficient vocabulary, or knowing the meanings of enough words. Readers who have strong comprehension are able to draw conclusions about what they read – what is important, what is a fact, what caused an event to happen, which characters are funny. Thus comprehension involves combining reading with thinking and reasoning.

What the problem looks like

A kid’s perspective: What this feels like to me

Children will usually express their frustration and difficulties in a general way, with statements like “I hate reading!” or “This is stupid!”. But if they could, this is how kids might describe how comprehension difficulties in particular affect their reading:

  • It takes me so long to read something. It’s hard to follow along with everything going on.
  • I didn’t really get what that book was about.
  • Why did that character do that? I just don’t get it!
  • I’m not sure what the most important parts of the book were.
  • I couldn’t really create an image in my head of what was going on.
  • A parent’s perspective: What I see at home

Here are some clues for parents that a child may have problems with comprehension:

  • She’s not able to summarise a passage or a book.
  • He might be able to tell you what happened in a story, but can’t explain why events went the way they did.
  • She can’t explain what a character’s thoughts or feelings might have been.
  • He doesn’t link events in a book to similar events from another book or from real life.

A teacher’s perspective: What they might see in the classroom

  • He seems to focus on the “wrong” aspect of a passage; for example, he concentrates so much on the details that the main idea is lost.
  • She can tell the outcome of a story, but cannot explain why things turned out that way.
  • He does not go behind what is presented in a book to think about what might happen next or why characters took the action they did.
  • She brings up irrelevant information when trying to relate a passage to something in her own life.
  • He seems to have a weak vocabulary.
  • She cannot tell the clear, logical sequence of events in a story.
  • He does not pick out the key facts from informational text.
  • He cannot give you a “picture” of what’s going on in a written passage; for example, what the characters look like or details of where the story takes place.

How to help

With the help of parents and teachers, kids can learn strategies to cope with comprehension problems that affect his or her reading. Below are some tips and specific things to do.

What kids can do to help themselves

  • Use outlines, maps, and notes when you read.
  • Make flash cards of key terms you might want to remember.
  • Read stories or passages in short sections and make sure you know what happened before you continue reading.
  • Ask yourself, “Does this make sense?” If it doesn’t, reread the part that didn’t make sense.
  • Read with a buddy. Stop every page or so and take turns summarising or retelling what you’ve read.
  • Ask a parent or teacher to preview a book with you before you read it on your own.
  • As you read, try to form mental pictures or images that match the story.

What parents can do to help at home

  • Hold a conversation and discuss what your child has read. Ask your child probing questions about the book and connect the events to his or her own life. For example, say “I wonder why that girl did that?” or “How do you think he felt? Why?” and “So, what lesson can we learn here?”.
  • Help your child make connections between what he or she reads and similar experiences he has felt, saw in a movie, or read in another book.
  • Help your child monitor his or her understanding. Teach them to continually ask whether they understand what is happening in the text.
  • Help your child go back to the text to support his or her answers.
  • Discuss the meanings of unknown words, both those he reads and those he hears.
  • Read material in short sections, making sure your child understands each step of the way.
  • Discuss what your child has learned from reading informational text such as a science or social studies book.
  • As students read, ask them open-ended questions such as “Why did things happen that way?” or “What is the author trying to do here?” and “Why is this somewhat confusing?”.
  • Teach students the structure of different types of reading material. For instance, narrative texts usually have a problem, a highpoint of action, and a resolution to the problem. Informational texts may describe, compare and contrast, or present a sequence of events.
  • Discuss the meaning of words as you go through the text. Target a few words for deeper teaching, really probing what those words mean and how they can be used.
  • Teach note-taking skills and summarising strategies.
  • Use graphic organizers that help students break information down and keep track of what they read.
  • Encourage students to use and revisit targeted vocabulary words.
  • Teach students to monitor their own understanding. Show them how, for example, to ask themselves “What’s unclear here?” or “What information am I missing?” and “What else should the author be telling me?”.
  • Teach children how to make predictions and how to summarise.

Gradual Release of Responsibility Instructional Model

At Park Ridge we use the gradual release of responsibility model (GRRM) to instruct students in literacy and numeracy.  The GRRM is a research-based instructional model that provides teachers with a framework for moving from teacher knowledge to student understanding and application. The gradual release of responsibility model ensures that students are supported in their acquisition of the skills and strategies necessary for success.

Below is an outline and breakdown of GRRM elements.

A Model for Instruction
Focus Lesson

(‘I do it’)

  • Teacher establishes the purpose of the lesson

–     Clear explanations of the purpose

–     Related activities

  • The teacher uses “I” statements to model thinking
  • Questioning is used to scaffold instruction, not to interrogate students
  • Focus lessons move to guided instruction, not immediately to independent learning
Guided Instruction

(‘We do it’)

  • Cognitive load shifts from teacher to students
  • Small group arrangements are evident
  • Teacher plays an active role, not just circulating and assisting individual students
  • Dialogue occurs between students and the teacher as they begin to use the skill or strategy
  • Based on formative assessment
  • The teacher uses cues and prompts to scaffold understanding
Collaborative Learning

(‘We do it together’)

  • Small group arrangements are evident

–     Teacher directed grouping for guided and collaborative learning

–     Each student producing a product in response to the group interaction (not a single group product)

  • The teacher has modelled concepts that students need to complete collaborative tasks
  • Students have received guided instruction needed to complete tasks
Independent Learning

(‘You do it alone’)

  • Essential for lifelong motivation and growth
  • Students apply what they have learned in focus lessons, guided instruction and collaborative learning experiences
  • Tasks need to be:

–     Meaningful, experiential and relevant

  • Teacher meets with individual students for conferring about the independent learning tasks

To be a great reader you need to use a network of strategies.

Source: Fountas, Irene and Pinnell, Gay Su, Fountas and Pinnell Prompting Guide 1: A Tool for Literacy Teachers. (2009) Portsmouth, N.H. Heinemann

At Park Ridge students are encouraged to think deeply about texts, ensuring they finish the text with a deep comprehension of what they have read. To do this, readers have to stop and use the above strategies, especially questioning, predicting and inferring. Students often find this hard and need assistance to stop and think about the text and then ask questions.

To think deeply about a text, a reader needs to demonstrate understanding of four levels of comprehension.

Literal Comprehension: student’s ability to recognise and recall ideas directly from the text.
Inferred Comprehension: student’s ability to infer meaning from then text by combining information in the text with their own experience in order to supply an answer.
Evaluative Comprehension: student’s ability to make associations with their personal experience, their world knowledge and the ideas in the text.
Emotive Comprehension: student’s ability to respond emotionally to texts

Below is a table of question starters that you can use, whilst reading with your child to help them think more deeply about the texts they read.  Source: Julie Shepherd

Four Levels of Questioning/Comprehension

Literal            (Here)

What happened…..?

How many….?

How did….?


What is….?


Why…? (If answer can be found directly in the text)

Inferred    (Hidden)

Why did…?

What was…?

Do you think…?

What do you think about…?

Can you explain…?

How was this similar to…?

Evaluative   (Head)

Do you think that…. should have…?

What else could she/ you….?

How would you…?

Do you agree…?

What would have happened if…?

How might….?

What effect does….?

If you were… what would you….?

Emotive      (Heart)

How do you feel about….?

How did you feel when….?

Book Boxes

Reading for enjoyment is an important skill that we want to foster in our students at Park Ridge, therefore developing a love of reading is paramount to our literacy program. This year we are using ‘Book Boxes’ where students pick a variety of books that are just right for their reading level and interest. These boxes are housed on students’ tables and they are encouraged to read for prolonged periods of time to build their reading stamina. The contents of the book boxes may vary depending on the year level, but normally they will house their reading journal, picture story books as well as non-fiction texts, novels, book club texts and choice texts such as magazines.

Here is what some of our students think about Book Boxes:

‘Book boxes are great because you stay on the same book because you don’t lose them. This makes it easier to understand what you are reading because you don’t swap books all the time.’
Emily P Year 4

‘I like the book boxes because it makes your table more roomy because you don’t have books everywhere and you don’t have to disturb others by getting up and changing your book. I like that you choose them because you know what you like to read.’ Parker C Year 4

‘You don’t have to get out of your seat to change your books if you finish reading them so you get more time to read.’ Bhairavy V Year 4

‘I think it tempts me to read more often as my books are always in front of me’ Jett W Year 5

‘I like having all my reading things in one spot so when I finish my work I can read a book that I have chosen and know I will like’ Piper C Year 5

‘I love to read my magazine on Friday’ Noah N Prep


This year Victorian schools will be implementing a new curriculum area: Digital Technologies. It builds on what schools have been doing in the past where the focus has been equipping students with the skills to use technology, to focussing on teaching students the skills to create technology.

Digital Technologies is divided into 3 strands:

  • Digital Systems: learning about hardware, software and network components
  • Data and Information: learning about properties of data, how it is collected and how it is interpreted in context to produce information
  • Creating Digital Solutions: learning process and skills to create digital solutions

Implementation of this curriculum area will be gradual as it will involve professional learning for teachers as well as purchasing new equipment and resources. It will be a very exciting journey with students learning about the components of digital systems, creating algorithms to give clear instructions and using these algorithms in computer programming and controlling robotic devices.

When announcing Digital Technologies to the public, the Education Minister, James Merlino, recently stated: ‘We want all Victorian kids to have the opportunity to develop the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow’.




Mathematics provides students with access to important mathematical ideas, knowledge and skills that they will draw on in their personal and work lives. The curriculum also provides students, as life-long learners, with the basis on which further study and research in mathematics and applications in many other fields are built.

Mathematical ideas have evolved across societies and cultures over thousands of years, and are constantly developing. Digital technologies are facilitating this expansion of ideas and provide new tools for mathematical exploration and invention. While the usefulness of mathematics for modelling and problem solving is well known, mathematics also has a fundamental role in both enabling and sustaining cultural, social, economic and technological advances and empowering individuals to become critical citizens.

Number, measurement and geometry, statistics and probability are common aspects of most people’s mathematical experience in everyday personal, study and work situations. Equally important are the essential roles that algebra, functions and relations, logic, mathematical structure and working mathematically play in people’s understanding of the natural and human worlds, and the interaction between them.

The Mathematics curriculum focuses on developing increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, reasoning, modelling and problem-solving. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematics to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.

The curriculum ensures that the links between the various components of mathematics, as well as the relationship between mathematics and other disciplines, are made clear. Mathematics is composed of multiple but interrelated and interdependent concepts and structures which students apply beyond the mathematics classroom. For example, in Science, understanding sources of error and their impact on the confidence of conclusions is vital; in Geography, interpretation of data underpins the study of human populations and their physical environments; in History, students need to be able to imagine timelines and time frames to reconcile related events; and in English, deriving quantitative, logical and spatial information is an important aspect of making meaning of texts.


The Mathematics curriculum aims to ensure that students:

  • develop useful mathematical and numeracy skills for everyday life, work and as active and critical citizens in a technological world
  • see connections and apply mathematical concepts, skills and processes to pose and solve problems in mathematics and in other disciplines and contexts
  • acquire specialist knowledge and skills in mathematics that provide for further study in the discipline
  • appreciate mathematics as a discipline – its history, ideas, problems and applications, aesthetics and philosophy.


The curriculum is organised by the three strands of Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.

Each strand is organised by sub-­strands. Sub-strands group content descriptions under an appropriate concept, to provide both a focus and a clear sequence for the development of related concepts and skills within strands and across levels.

Strands Number and Algebra Measurement and Geometry Statistics and Probability
Sub-strands Number and place value Using units of measurement Chance
Fractions and decimals Shape Data representation and interpretation
Real numbers Geometric reasoning
Money and financial mathematics Location and transformation
Patterns and algebra Pythagoras and trigonometry
Linear and non-­linear relationships

Number and Algebra

Number and Algebra are developed together, and each enriches the study of the other. Students apply number sense and strategies for counting and representing numbers. They explore the magnitude and properties of numbers. They apply a range of strategies for computation and understand the connections between operations. They recognise patterns and understand the concepts of variable and function. They build on their understanding of the number system to describe relationships and formulate generalisations. They recognise equivalence and solve equations and inequalities. They apply their number and algebra skills to conduct investigations, solve problems and communicate their reasoning.

Measurement and Geometry

Measurement and Geometry are presented together to emphasise their relationship to each other, enhancing their practical relevance. Students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of size, shape, relative position and movement of two-dimensional figures in the plane and three-dimensional objects in space. They investigate properties and apply their understanding of them to define, compare and construct figures and objects. They learn to develop geometric arguments. They make meaningful measurements of quantities, choosing appropriate metric units of measurement. They build an understanding of the connections between units and calculate derived measures such as area, speed and density.

Statistics and Probability

Statistics and Probability develops initially in parallel, with the curriculum progressively building links between them. Students recognise and analyse data and draw inferences. They represent, summarise and interpret data and undertake purposeful investigations involving the collection and interpretation of data. Students recognise variation, assess likelihood and assign probabilities using experimental and theoretical approaches. They develop an increasingly sophisticated ability to critically evaluate chance and data concepts and make reasoned judgments and decisions, as well as building skills to critically evaluate statistical information and develop intuitions about data.

Learning in Mathematics

The proficiencies of Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning are fundamental to learning mathematics and working mathematically, and are applied across all three strands Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.

Understanding refers to students building a robust knowledge of adaptable and transferable mathematical concepts and structures. Students make connections between related concepts and progressively apply the familiar to develop new ideas. They develop an understanding of the relationship between the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of mathematics. Students build understanding when they:

  • connect related ideas
  • represent concepts in different ways
  • identify commonalities and differences between aspects of content
  • describe their thinking mathematically
  • interpret mathematical information.

Fluency describes students developing skills in choosing appropriate procedures, carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately, and recalling factual knowledge and concepts readily. Students are fluent when they:

  • make reasonable estimates
  • calculate answers efficiently
  • recognise robust ways of answering questions
  • choose appropriate methods and approximations
  • recall definitions and regularly use facts,
  • can manipulate expressions and equations to find solutions.

Problem solving is the ability of students to make choices, interpret, formulate, model and investigate problem situations, select and use technological functions and communicate solutions effectively. Students pose and solve problems when they:

  • use mathematics to represent unfamiliar or meaningful situations
  • design investigations and plan their approaches
  • apply their existing strategies to seek solutions
  • verify that their answers are reasonable.

Reasoning refers to students developing an increasingly sophisticated capacity for logical, statistical and probabilistic thinking and actions, such as conjecturing, hypothesising, analysing, proving, evaluating, explaining, inferring, justifying, refuting, abstracting and generalising. Students are reasoning mathematically when they:

  • explain their thinking
  • deduce and justify strategies used and conclusions reached
  • adapt the known to the unknown
  • transfer learning from one context to another
  • prove that something is true or false
  • make inferences about data or the likelihood of events
  • compare and contrast related ideas and explain their choices.