Our Curriculum - Spalding Program

Our Philosophy

At Birralee PS, our philosophy toward teaching literacy follows a logical approach to language combined with explicit, sequential instruction to establish knowledge about how our written language works. We use the Spalding Method which has been implemented in schools successfully for over 40 years. It incorporates multi-sensory instruction and demands active participation from the students as well as high expectations. The program is integrated between speaking, writing and reading and is intensely motivating for students as the learning is applicable to everyday life as well as for academic learning.

Classroom Program

Students from Foundation to Grade 4 follow a regular classroom program to thoroughly learn how to say and write the initial 70 phonograms which connects sounds to written symbols. In Grades 5 and 6, students practise and apply their learning to equip them with the literacy tools necessary for their future studies.


Students learn directly from hearing and saying aloud the phonograms, using strategies such as the daily Oral and Written Phonogram Reviews. Students also learn the 32 spelling rules that govern the structure of English words. In both spelling and reading, students use their knowledge of phonics, grammar rules and thinking rather than only rote memorisation and sight recognition.


Students learn grammar and punctuation in conjunction with their writing and reading. The model of grammar used at Birralee is based on Functional Systemic Linguistics (a modern grammar approach), which enables students to be confident in using a common language about literacy as well as the ability for teachers to give precise instruction.

Reading and Writing

Children who are not confident with the sub-skills of reading suffer academically and emotionally, so at Birralee we highly value each student’s ability to read well as it affects their thoughts and expression. The basic ability to decode and begin reading occurs concurrently as the students learn to spell, say and write words. In order to promote a deeper level and love of reading (as well as to develop a wealth of knowledge of vocabulary, character, philosophy, history, science and humour), "rich" text examples are chosen for classroom investigation and recommended for private reading.

Professional Development

Here at Birralee, we regard literacy as the lynchpin to future learning and as such, it is of great value. Our teachers are all trained in the Spalding Arts Language Method and we regularly include in-service professional development to maintain our teaching standards. As Romalda Spalding said, "Civilisation is not inherited; its advance depends on the ability of each generation to fully communicate and teach its children the recorded wisdom of past ages. Teaching language to children is therefore the highest profession in every age."