Pretoria Language Arts - Parent Guide

Inquiry-Based Approach’ to Literacy Instruction 

AISJ is committed to a constructivist, inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning that promotes the development of critical-thinking skills. Effective reading and writing programs require children to think, make connections and be active participants in their learning. With inquiry-based teaching and learning, all students are engaged in interesting, authentic learning experiences building on prior knowledge and understandings. Using the workshop model as a framework for literacy instruction encourages an inquiry stance which builds on students’ interests and ideas. Working within the workshop model, students move forward in their path of intellectual curiosity and understanding, developing the literacy skills necessary to thrive in the academic environment and beyond.

Research points to a strong correlation between a student’s oral language development and their ability to comprehend text at a deeper level as they progress through the upper grades. This is critical to their future success as avid readers of text. We believe that oral language develops through the social interactions and learning that abound during inquiry and play. By creating diverse situations and opportunities for inquiry and play, students explore, negotiate, problem solve, pretend, act, discover and share in a natural way that enhances both language and cognitive growth. Through talking and engaging with books at an early stage, students begin to develop strong identities as readers.

We believe in immersing students in rich literature to promote a love of reading and to nurture every student’s reading identity. ‘Read Alouds’ and ‘Shared Reading’ are used extensively, and students are encouraged to think deeply about the books that are read aloud to them.  Starting from the age of five students are introduced to formal reading instruction using levelled texts.

Foundation for Success in School 

We believe in a balanced approach to teaching literacy. It is essential that students build a strong foundation in reading, writing, speaking and listening to help them achieve high standards in literacy. Our goal is to enable students to see themselves as capable readers and writers and to achieve success, as measured by our grade level standards and benchmarks. All students can be successful literacy learners. As educators, we have a responsibility to promote and foster a love of literacy with each and every child in our school.

Equal Access To Learning Opportunities 

It is the responsibility of every teacher at AISJ to maintain the highest expectations of learning in the classroom to ensure that every student is included, challenged and successful. Teachers plan using the School’s curriculum, effective strategies, resources, and data to meet the needs of all students and to allow equal access to learning. We effectively engage students in learning by using a variety of instructional strategies to meet individual learning needs; providing a respectful, positive, safe student-centred environment that is conducive to learning.