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Improving the Teaching and Learning of Writing at Blackbutt State School

Prep/Year 1 students show off their THRASS cards during assembly at Blackbutt State School.
Writing in the spotlight- Improving the Teaching and Learning of Writing at Blackbutt State School
Blackbutt State School is shining its educational spotlight on improving the teaching and learning of writing for all students.
This targeted focus includes the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The 2017 school priority kicked off with the implementation of a whole school Prep to Year 6 sounds to letters methodology called THRASS.
Principal Mrs Gayle Williamson said teachers and teacher aides attended an intensive two-day workshop presented by Mrs Francis Duffy from the THRASS Institute.
“Blackbutt State School staff spent two days studying the methodology that is being used to help students spell, read and write,” Mrs Williamson said.
“Some parents also attended a separate workshop and, as a result, are very keen to see THRASS put into action with our students.’’
Mrs Williamson said the school is committed to explicit, hands-on phonics teaching using a whole-word approach.
“Research has shown that students with a more comprehensive vocabulary and a greater understanding of the meanings of words will successfully apply words to memory for spelling,’’ she said. “They are also more competent in comprehension and writing.”
Mrs Williamson said teachers will focus on word meaning, the phonetic structure of words, links to other words with similar structures and the grammatical use of words.
“The more students can see the words in context, understand the meanings, make phonetic links and practise writing words in a fun and meaningful way, the more competent and adventurous spellers they will become,’’ she said.
“Blackbutt State School is using THRASS as the basis for phonics teaching - and the MASUTA Spelling Sequence - to better develop students’ spelling skills and strategies.
“The THRASSCHART has the phonic information to help students read and spell words. Having this knowledge will allow our students to develop skills in spelling, reading, comprehension and writing, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential in literacy learning.”