Teaching and learning


​​​Class Newsletter​s

​Each term, we publish class newsletters with information relevant to each year level. The newsletters can be viewed here​​​​​.

Read Well - Reading at Gumdale

At Gumdale State School, we use a Systematic Synthetic Phonics approach to the teaching of reading and spelling. 

Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) is built on the alphabetic principle. It is a structured, cumulative, multi-sensory and evidence-based method of teaching reading whereby students are taught the link between letters and the speech sounds they represent. Our students learn sounds (phonemes) are represented by letters (graphemes). We teach children that phonemes can be blended or ‘synthesised’ to form words. Systematic Synthetic Phonics is a bottom-up approach in that instruction starts not with whole words but with the most basic sound unit, the phoneme. The reading process involves decoding or ‘breaking’ words into separate sounds that are blended together to read an unknown word.

Dandelion Decodable Readers
In 2023, our Prep and Year 1 teachers will use the Dandelion Series of Decodable Readers in class reading time.  Our program is supported by evidence-based research and includes phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary knowledge, fluency and comprehension.

Decodable Readers Australia Online Library
Gumdale State School has a paid subscription to Decodable Readers Australia.  This platform provides an array of reading material for children to practise their developing reading skills at home. Watch this wonderful video that shows you exactly how to support your child when reading at home.

Alphabet Picture Mnemonic

Initial alphabetic sounds and the formation of letters are taught through the use of the picture mnemonic.  Research has shown embedded picture mnemonics help children learn the relationships between speech sounds and letters.
Alphabet picture.png

Tricky Words
Some high frequency words have irregular spelling patterns and cannot be decoded. Tricky words are taught by explicitly teaching children the ‘trick’.  Eventually, children will learn the ‘code’ for many of these high frequency words but until then, they are called ‘tricky words’. Once we called these words ‘sight words’ but we now know that when children orthographically map words using sounds, every word eventually becomes a sight word.

Children learn to read by applying their knowledge of language as well as their knowledge of letters and sounds to reading a text.  The teaching of language is therefore just as important as the teaching of sound-letter correspondences!  At school, children are immersed in language through experiences, books, discussion, song and through the explicit instruction around new vocabulary.

The home context is vital for language learning.  Language learning begins when children are born.  We can promote language learning at home through:

  1. Talking to our children.  You could try expanding on what your child says.
  2. Using language in ‘play’ with your child.
  3. Singing songs every day.
  4. Reading stories every day.
  5. Introducing new words to your child.

Please see the First Five Forever website​ for more ideas around promoting language learning at home.​
Last reviewed 30 March 2023
Last updated 30 March 2023