Balwyn Primary School

Balwyn Primary School began using the early levels of Flying Start to Literacy (Levels 1 - 4) with Prep students and some Year 1 students in 2011.

Students love the books

Teachers have commented on how much the students love the books, and how supportive the photographs are, especially for EAL (ESL) students.

Using the Vocabulary Starters

Teachers and students are also enjoying the Vocabulary Starters. Bek Clarke, a Prep teacher and the Prep–2 leader, comments: 

The Vocabulary Starters are a great platform for discussion, a great way to access prior knowledge. I’m also finding that they are a quick form of assessment. It helps me know who I have to support in terms of vocabulary.

Using Flying Start to Literacy as the core resource

Using Flying Start to Literacy as a core resource and model, Bek decided to reorganise the school’s existing guided reading books at Levels 1 - 4 around the language in each Flying Start book. This is an example of what she did.

Me and Dogs are paired texts at Level 1of Flying Start. Me has the stem "I can" and Dogs has the stem "This dog can". Bek put together all texts at that level with the same stem from the school's existing resources.

Using Flying Start as the core resource, she repeated this process with all the guided reading books. Now when teachers choose materials for their students, they select books that support the use of a particular high-frequency word or a particular stem. 

Bek has found that that: “…organising the books this way allows me to make sure that I am choosing books that give my students an achievable challenge. I feel I am more targeted and specific in my teaching.”

Background – about Balwyn Primary School

Balwyn Primary School is located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

The Prep-6 school has an enrolment of about 350 students and provides a developmental curriculum within a multi-age structure. The students come from diverse backgrounds with 30 percent speaking a language other than English at home.