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The English Department, with its vision, “Avid Reader, Budding Writer, Effective Communicator” and mission, “to equip students with listening, speaking, reading and writing skills so as to be effective communicators” has planned a series of programmes to provide our pupils a strong foundation and exposure to rich language in line with MOE’s new English Language Syllabus 2010’s approach to teaching. The key focus of the English Department is on developing the reading skills of our pupils for research has shown that failure to read by 9 years of age will lead to a lifetime of illiteracy for at least 70% of struggling readers. The following four reading programmes were introduced to address this area of concern.
Comprehension and Literacy Intervention Programme (CLIP)
The Comprehension and Literacy Intervention Programme (CLIP) in Bendemeer addresses the needs of struggling readers from Primary 3 to 6 who have not been identified for the School-based Dyslexia Remediation or the Reading Remediation Programme. The curriculum and the strategies used in the mid primary level differ from those used in the upper primary level. It draws on the curriculum designed by Professors Irene Fountas and Gay-Su Pinnell. Pupils attend ½ to 1 hour sessions 2 to 3 times a week during their English lessons and are guided in reading skills and comprehension strategies. The teachers involved in this programme have all given feedback that they are able to see progress in the reading and comprehension skills of the children involved.
Jolly Phonics is introduced to all Primary 1 pupils to supplement the main stream English curriculum. Children learn the sounds of letters through stories, songs and actions. It teaches children blending skills and phonological awareness, which research studies have found are strong predictors of reading success, in a fun and engaging manner. Children have given feedback that they look forward and enjoy the phonics lessons and teachers have commented that the children have a better grasp of the letter-sound relationship which would help them in their reading.
The objective of the reading period is to inculcate in pupils a love of reading. It is conducted once a week in the curriculum. During the reading period, teachers weave in discussions based on Critical Literacy, and use newspapers to share about current affairs, etc.
Weekly storytelling during pre-assembly
Teachers are scheduled to read aloud a story every Wednesday during pre-assembly to provide our pupils exposure to the rich language found in story books.
STELLAR (Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading)
Bendemeer is one of the thirty schools to pilot the new English Language curriculum from Primary 1 to Primary 6. Bendemeer has been on STELLAR since 2007. STELLAR’s vision is for all children to develop a love for reading and hence the use of interesting and engaging stories in the STELLAR curriculum. The lower primary STELLAR strategies are the Shared Book Approach (SBA), the Modified Language Experience Approach (MLEA) and Learning Centres. The strategies at the Upper Primary are Guided Reading, Supported Reading, KWL and Retelling.
Pupils engaged in the MLEA activity of sandwich making. Pupils wrote about their MLEA activity of decorating their ice cream.
Assessment for Learning
The department believes strongly in Assessment for Learning (AfL) and introduced an oral feedback form that teachers use during the oral examinations to provide feedback to the pupils for improvement. Other forms of AfL include using a writing check list and ICT tools such as Vocaroo audio recording for self-assessment.
In Bendemeer, all children will have the opportunity to attend Speech and Drama lessons in Primary 3, Storytelling lessons in Primary 4, Public Speaking in Primary 5 and Debating sessions in Primary 6. The objectives of the Bendemeer Oracy Programme are to build students’ confidence and self-esteem, produce students who are vocally and physically expressive in the English Language and promote and foster an enjoyment of the language in all forms.
Our pupils showcasing their newly acquired skills in performances for their school mates.
Fun with English!
The department has also planned exciting and interactive activities to encourage and instil the joy of learning the English language. The Primary 1 to 4 levels take part in their respective levels’ English Games Day and the Primary 5 and 6 levels take part in the English Challenge annually. Pupils get to apply their reading comprehension skills, grammar skills and vocabulary knowledge during these events. In addition, as part of our post-exam activities, the BFF with English (Best Friends Forever with English) event is held during the recesses. Pupils get to try out different board games and interactive games via online platforms.
Our pupils enjoying themselves during the ‘BFF with English’ event held during recess.
Our pupils displaying teamwork in the English Challenge.
Good for online stories and games
Good for downloading poems and teaching poetry
Good for downloading Children’s Songs
Good for teaching reading through phonics