Literacy Years 4-6


Reading in the senior school takes place under a guided reading model. Students learn skills and strategies to understand books and other text types at a deeper level. This includes: Making Connections, Prediction & re-predicting, visualising, inferring, Self-questioning, Seeking clarification, Summarising, Identifying main ideas, Analysing & Synthesizing and finally Evaluating.

Assessment Tools for Reading

Probes (Individual student interview)

PROBE2 Reading Comprehension Assessment is an assessment resource teachers use to:

  • Determine a student’s reading level, often referred to a “reading age.”
  • Understand how students engage with texts.
  • Observe a student’s reading behaviour.
  • See if a student can reorganise scattered information throughout a piece of text.
  • See if a student can pick up complex and simple inferences, where a message is not stated explicitly.
  • See if a student can work out unknown vocabulary in context.
  • See if a student can form an opinion directly related to what they have read.

Once this information is gathered, teachers can determine specific teaching strategies required to move their students forward.

E-AsTTle Reading

This assessment tool is used twice a year, in the first and third terms. Students at St Michael’s Catholic School now do the test using a computer rather than on paper as has been done previously. The test consists of pieces of text followed by targeted questions.

E-AsTTle is used as part of the evidence informing the overall teacher judgement of student performance. Data provides teachers with high-quality information about the achievement of students. Student performance can be compared against a nationally represented standard. It allows teachers to identify curriculum outcomes that students have or have not achieved and in which they have strengths or gaps.

Individual Learning Pathways Reports are designed to answer the question, “What are the strengths and weaknesses of students’ performance?”. This information allows the teacher to identify and target the areas that need remedial investigation, extension direct instruction and/or continued practise.

The Reports are shared with students to enable them to actively engage with their learning goals and to be able to identify their own strengths and needs.

Overall Teacher Judgments

Teachers use a range of evidence when forming judgments about a student, as different assessment methods look at different aspects of student work. Data from Probe testing, AsTTle testing and classroom observations will all be considered by a teacher in determining whether a student will achieve at, above or below the National Standard.  Teachers will also use student work examples as evidence of the level that a student is working at.

What is Comprehension?

Comprehension is the reason for and prime motivator for engaging in reading. It is thinking about and responding to what you are reading. Duke and Pearson (2002) summarised what good readers do:

Good Readers

  • Are active and have clear goals in mind.
  • Preview text before reading, make predictions and read selectively to meet their goals.
  • Construct, revise and question the meanings they are making as they read.
  • Try to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words and concepts.
  • Draw from, compare and integrate their prior knowledge with what they are reading.
  • Monitor their understanding and make adjustments as needed.
  • Think about the authors of the text and evaluate the quality and value of the text.
  • Read different types of texts differently, both fiction and non-fiction.

Reading aloud to children is an important factor in developing oral reading fluency and motivation to read. It is also an effective way to discuss incidental vocabulary meaning.


At St Michael’s Catholic School we aim to equip children with a variety of writing skills which will help them to communicate and succeed in this ever-changing world.  Opportunities are provided for children to learn through traditional text types and digital.  These include forums, blogs and online newspapers.  We look forward to utilising these with the introduction of our new school website.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4
Writing Spelling Speech Writing Presenting Writing
Recounts Writing Presenting Invitations
Reports Explanations & Instructions Debates Poetic Writing
Letter Recount Assessments using EAsTTle Rubric Narrative Writing Static Images
Argument & Exposition

Easttle Assessment

This assessment tool has been newly introduced this year.  It is used in schools across New Zealand and therefore is an ideal way for teachers to moderate, not only within the school, but also across the country.  This ensures a high level of consistency and is formatted in such away that students can receive very specific feedback based on their results.

Here are some Useful and Fun Websites to Engage Children  in Writing

 Scholastic Story Starters 

Literacy Shed

 Study Ladder 

BBC Learning