The value of DEAR and Reading
As we celebrate Book Day and the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards, it is important to reflect on the value of reading. What are the benefits?
Walking through the Junior School after lunch is an eye-opener for visitors to St John’s. The Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) program has become a permanent and integral part of our reading program. All students from Kindergarten to Year 6 enjoy 20 minutes of personal or shared reading time each day. This practice of stillness and focus is a learnt skill and our Kindergarten and Year 1 learners are starting to display these behaviours as their reading skills improve.
There are those who would question the value of such a program if they have a limited view of what makes a ‘reader.’ Our classrooms have children who love reading and actually look forward to this relaxing and calm part of their day. The benefits of silent reading are well known, ranging from increased attention span, to improvements in vocabulary, fluency and accuracy. What is less understood is the promotion of risk taking, empathy and self-esteem. Children who read for pleasure are likely to perform significantly better in the classroom than their peers who rarely read, according to a recent report published by the University of London’s Institute of Education.
What is the role of parents in this process?
• Make a bedtime story something to look forward to.
• Read regularly yourself.
• Join a local library.
• Read books on different topics and find themes that interest your kids.
• Play word and word association games.
• Talk with your child: it builds communication skills, vocabulary and increases confidence.
This year, St John’s Year 5/6 students participated for the second time in a fun and engaging literacy competition for schools called Word Mania.
Last year, 105,000 students from 1,300 schools around Australia participated in Literacy Planet Word Mania, and built more than 43 million words. This online game is an exciting way to engage students in developing their literacy skills and is based on one of the websites most popular online exercises. Students are given an interactive digital board of 15 randomly generated letter tiles, and three minutes to create as many words as they can. It’s a race against the countdown that involves various literacy skills: phonemes, morphemes, spelling, word recognition, and vocabulary and word knowledge.
Tour de Rocks
On Friday August 18 at 2:30 pm in the NEGS Assembly Hall, St John’s Junior School handed over a cheque for $1,500 to Mr Bill Wheeler, Chairman and Founder of cancer charity Tour de Rocks.
The spirit of giving is a large part of the St John’s education and integral to the school’s overall Wellbeing program. Every year the Junior School participate in the annual Tour de Rocks event to make a difference to fight cancer.
This year the Tour de St John’s event was a huge success. Boys and girls from Transition to Year 6 were able to ride, run or scoot laps of the road, tennis court or turning circle for sponsorship. A circuit of 0.7km per lap made it very challenging for the senior riders. After thirty minutes of frantic riding and some very red faces, all students could proudly say that they tried their very best. The donation total was impressive, with a sum of $1500 being donated to Tour de Rocks.
Head of St John’s, Mrs Shannon Rosewood says, “part of our duty is developing a culture of giving, of being outwardly focused and contributing to a fully functioning community. Tour de Rocks is an organisation committed to inspiring and engaging our communities to work together to make a difference in the fight against Cancer. I am incredibly proud of how our little ones always pull together and show so much enthusiasm, from finding sponsors to the herculean effort they put in on the day.”
The remaining funds are being utilised to build a shelter for the student’s bikes in the playground and to create a Maker Space an exciting STEM initiative aimed at enhancing the opportunities for students to build, explore and experiment with materials.
St John’s Winter Pie Drive
Thank you to everyone who supported our inaugural pie drive! Big thanks to Moxon’s for supporting our school and an enormous thank you to the brilliant pie drive skills of Jodi McAlary. Look out for new resources and equipment at St John’s.
St John’s students and staff are very much enjoying our gymnastics sessions on Fridays and PE Dance unit. We have also continued our focus on daily fitness for all girls and boys from Kindergarten to Year 6. These sessions are conducted at 8:45 am every day in Term 3. The development of fundamental movement skills is very important in the physical development of a child.
When a child is confident and competent with these skills, they can develop sport-specific and complex movement skills that allow them to enjoy sport and physical activity. Most importantly, having a firm grasp of the fundamental movement skills and being physically literate leads a child to enjoy a long life of physical activity.
Students are asked to bring sports shoes to assist their running, jumping and stretching.
On Wednesdays and Fridays the students have a circuit program or can select to run cross-country, skip or ride their bike. This hive of activity has assisted our students to complete their lessons with focus and engagement.
Term 4 Sport options for students include:
3 – 6 Touch football (Thursday afternoon) and a lunchtime training session
K – 6 Basketball (Monday afternoons). Aussie Hoops training is considered a development program and includes skills sessions.
Teams will be determined by the number of interested students so look out for a note in your child’s bag.
Term 3 will bring Transition and Kindergarten experience days so we encourage all families who are interested in St John’s for their children to contact Enrolments on 6774 8700.
Explore NEGS will be theme of these incursion days and Mrs Nixon and Mrs McCann are already planning fun and exciting activities. Our current students will attend these days in either Kindergarten or Transition depending on their enrolment intentions for 2018.
Friday 1 September – Explore St John’s. 9am to 11 am
Thursday 26 October – Explore St John’s. 9am to 11 am
Wednesday 15 October – Transition and Kindergarten Orientation Day