Reading Strategies

Reading is a big part of our day.

We use the CAFE model in our Literacy Block every day. Each week we focus on a different CAFE reading strategy in class. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary. All of these areas of reading are extremely important and good readers know they need to read regularly to improve their skills.

We have a CAFE Menu in our classroom. At the end of each week we put a strategy card on the menu.

At the beginning of the year this is what our CAFE Menu looks like.

CAFE Menu 2

By the end of the year, it will look more like this!



Last week, our reading strategy was Check for Understanding.


This week, our strategy is Make a Picture in your Mind.


These two comprehension strategies help readers to understand their texts, and we will continue to build on our comprehension as the year progresses.

After working on our reading strategies collectively as a class each morning, the students then participate in 15 – 20 minutes of independent reading. During this time, they practise the strategy independently while reading “good fit” books.




What reading strategies do you use?

What areas of reading do you want to work on this year?

What books do you like to read?

Using Picture Books

One of our literacy focuses this year is using picture books to inspire us with our reading and writing.

We have been using picture books, or “mentor texts” for the past few months in our reading and writing lessons. Using mentor texts helps us to see what good writers do to create interesting stories.

Each time we read a picture book in class, we have discussions about techniques the author and illustrator have used to create their story. We learn from these authors and use their techniques in our own writing. Some of the things we discuss include:

  • Sizzling starts
  • Mighty middle
  • Excellent endings
  • Descriptive language
  • Similes, metaphors and idioms
  • Interesting word choice
  • Sentence fluency
  • Voice
  • How the text is sequenced and organised
  • The main idea of the text
  • Character development
  • A message or moral
  • How the illustrations impact on the story
  • The style of the illustrations
  • How the illustrations tell the story

We created this anchor chart to help us remember the elements that make a good picture book.



Today in class, we read Flood by Australian author, Jackie French. This powerful picture book describes the 2011 Queensland floods. You can listen to Jackie reading the story in the clip below.

We read this book because our focus was “identifying how descriptive language can represent information”. Can you see how Jackie French used descriptive language to show us what the floods were like?


What is your favourite picture book? Why?

What did you think of the book, Flood?

How can we use picture books to help us with our writing?

Learning About Idioms

A couple of weeks ago, our reading strategy focussed on learning about idioms.

Idioms are phrases that have a different meaning to the actual words in the phrase. For example, if something is described as “a piece of cake”, it is an idiom. It means that something is really easy, it doesn’t actually have anything at all to do with cake.

In class we discussed the literal and the inferred meaning of lots of idioms.

  • The literal meaning is when you imagine the words in the idiom as being the real meaning.
  • The inferred meaning is what the phrase actually means when used in conversation.

Example: To “spill the beans”.

You might imagine someone tipping over a bowl of beans BUT this idiom really means that you have revealed some secret information.


For this learning task, each student chose an idiom they liked. They had to draw the literal and the inferred meaning for their idiom. Check out our work and see if you can identify any of the idioms!

Learning about idioms is important because authors often use idioms in books, so we need to understand them in order to understand what we read. Since learning about idioms, we also realised that we use idioms all the time in our conversations!


Did you guess any of our idioms?

Do you have a favourite idiom?

What idioms do you often hear people say?

4B Completes the Premier’s Reading Challenge!

A few months ago we posted about the Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC). You can read that post here.


Each time students read a book, they enter the book details on the PRC website. They need to read a minimum of 10 books from the challenge book list.

4B is the first class in the grade 3/4 area at our school to achieve 100% completion in the Premier’s Reading Challenge. What a great achievement!

Reading is a big part of our day, and we work hard to build our comprehension skills in our literacy sessions. The slideshow below shows what each 4B student is currently reading.

Miss Jordan is very proud of all the students in 4B for committing to this challenge and completing the PRC! Well done!


What was your favourite PRC book?

What do you like to read?

Reading Journals

During the past two weeks 4A and 4B have been working on their Reading Journals.

All students borrowed a “good fit” book from the library for this task. During our recent reading sessions, students have been recording their thoughts and reflections about their text as they read.

The reflections include:

  • Predictions
  • Questions
  • Character descriptions
  • Connections to the text (eg. text-to-text, text-to-self and text-to-world connections)
  • Visualisations
  • Interesting vocabulary
  • Opinions

Students have been using the Pages app on their iPads to record their text reflections. Here are some examples…


What book are you using for your Reading Journal?

What text reflections have you made?

How does the Reading Journal help your reading and comprehension?

Premier’s Reading Challenge

The students at Barwon Heads Primary School are registered for the 2014 Premier’s Reading Challenge.


The Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) is a state-wide reading program that allows students to log the books they read until September. Students are issued with usernames and passwords and they can enter their books online at school or at home.

To successfully complete the challenge, students are required to read a designated number of books and most of the books need to come from the PRC book list. The requirements for the challenge for each year level are:


Here are some important PRC links:

This year, the PRC has a new mascot, Lachlan the Reading Dog. You can meet Lachlan in the short clip below.

We love reading in class every day, so the PRC will be enjoyed by everyone. There are many fantastic books in the PRC book list, and the students in 4A and 4B look forward to exploring new texts and authors during the challenge.

School holidays are a great time to relax and read, so hopefully some students have spent time reading for the PRC during their term break!

Thank you to our school librarian, Ms Browne, for registering our school and helping us find great books to read each week!


What books have you read in the PRC so far?

What PRC books to do you recommend?

What are your favourite books to read?