Our Curricular Goal
We aim to instill passion for the English Language (EL) through a strong foundation and rich language experiences, developing amongst our students, critical thinkers, and confident and effective communicators.
In River Valley Primary School, the English curriculum is based on STELLAR (Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading).
STELLAR has been fully implemented from Primary One to Primary Six in the school. STELLAR’s vision is to develop in children the love for reading and a strong foundation in the English Language. It aims to strengthen children’s learning of the English Language and promote a positive attitude towards reading in the foundational years by using engaging and age-appropriate strategies and instructional materials.
The 2020 EL Syllabus was implemented from the Primary One level in 2020, its overarching aim being to develop effective and affective language use among students, focusing on 21st century competencies, values and soft skills such as empathy and cultural sensitivity. In language learning, there is a sharper focus on metacognition, multiliteracies, and inquiry through dialogue, all of which will be achieved through teaching approaches that place explicit emphasis on Differentiated Instruction and Assessment for Learning. (pictures taken before Covid-19)
Questioning for Critical Thinking
To further strengthen critical thinking amongst our students, questioning techniques that are situated on the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy are used in daily teaching and learning. Teachers are careful and deliberate in selecting age and developmentally appropriate approaches in equipping our students with the skills necessary for them to develop the 21st Century Competencies that are necessary for the globalised world we live in. Making Thinking Visible routines are adopted and adapted into our curriculum to support and structure students’ questioning and thinking. See-Think-Wonder as a pre-reading tool, and Perspective-Taking for upper primary writing are but some of the thinking routines that our students are immersed in.
Literacy Support Programmes
RV has implemented support programmes to scaffold literacy such as the Learning Support Programme (LSP) (P1 & P2), the Reading Remediating Programme (RRP) (P3 & P4) and the School Dyslexic Remediation (SDR) (P3 & P4) to provide additional help to cater to students with higher learning needs. Through a comprehensive teaching package and guidelines developed by the Reading Unit of EL Curriculum Planning and Development Division (CPDD), these programmes are conducted by trained teachers who are equipped with skills to provide the necessary remediation for reading and comprehension.
In alignment with the EL Department’s goal, the curriculum is customised as follows:
The writing school-based curriculum in River Valley (RV) is structured to provide our students guidance and scaffolding to develop their thinking and writing skills.
Pre-writing strategies such as the analyzing of mentor texts, free-writing activities and HEART aim to equip and enhance students’ writing skills. To facilitate deeper and more critical thinking about their writing, modified thinking routines such as See-Think-Wonder-Connect are introduced to students to help them ponder on and make connections to the theme and the pictures.
‘HEART’ is a characterisation strategy that was devised by the EL Department teachers to guide students to elaborate on and add details to their writing pieces using Happenings (actions), Emotions (feelings), Appearances, Responses (dialogues) and Thoughts of the characters in their stories. It was a conscious effort by the teachers to make an impact on students’ learning of writing crafts that will aid them in and develop their writing proficiency.
The SEP (State, Elaborate and Personal Experience) oral strategy was yet another teaching tool that was devised by the EL Department teachers. Students across all the levels are taught to develop their responses to the stimulus-based conversation (SBC) task in the oral component. The SEP strategy structures students’ thoughts and responses, allowing them to plan for the conversation well. This strategy is reinforced through the oral booklets that are prepared for each level.
Talent Development Programme (P4)
The EL Talent Development Programme (TDP) in English Literature was introduced in 2020 to stretch a selected group of P4 students’ higher-order thinking and learning in the English Language. In this programme, students study the classic literature fiction ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis. They are introduced to selected literary elements and modified thinking routines that allow them to dwell deeper on the characters and the plot in the story. The activities and lessons are targeted at making learning the English Language an enjoyable experience, allowing students to develop a positive attitude, and love towards the language.
Applied Learning Programme (P5)
The Applied Learning Programme (ALP) for the P5 level was introduced in 2020 focusing on important concepts in New Media Literacy (NML) and in persuasive communication skills in the English Language. Students go through a series of lessons weekly that equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge that are in line with the new shifts in education introduced in 2019. As the product of their learning, students select an issue that they have identified in their school environment, take a stand that they wish to campaign for, and work on a persuasive project that they present in class at the end of the programme. Click Here to view presentation slides
Instilling The Joy of Learning
The Reading Programme
Being avid readers helps children master language skills, expand their general knowledge, become more socially aware, more confident, more inspired, as well as develop their intellect. It is crucial that students do not only read to pass the test as the effects of that would, at best, be short term. Reading for pleasure is critical for ensuring that the practice becomes part of the learners’ everyday life. Therefore, RV instills the love for reading through these platforms:
Every class is supplied with quality graded fiction and non-fiction books. The books cover a variety of text types and genres, exposing students to an array of choices. Students are encouraged to borrow them to read for leisure.
Little Red Dot (P3 to P6)
The Little Red Dot publication by the Singapore Press Holdings is a fortnightly issue subscribed to by the students as part of the department’s initiative to support extensive reading. Articles are chosen by the subject teachers for reviews and discussions in class. This initiative also supports the exposure of different text types to students beyond their day-to-day learning, providing them the autonomy to choose their reading materials that pique their interest.
In our efforts to promote reading among every RVian (teachers included), every Thursday, as a pre-assembly activity, the EL Department teachers read a story, or an excerpt from a storybook, to the students in the School Hall. Over time, we have also had students come up on stage to read with their teachers!
Sustained Silent Reading
Time during the English periods for every class is dedicated for our students to engage in silent reading for a sustained period of time. Students choose read a storybook or articles from LRD. Sometimes, teachers and/or students read aloud in class to share what they are reading.
RV’s school library holds a wide collection of books for the students to enjoy and grow as an avid reader. The library runs activities with the help of the dedicated and creative parents of our Parents Support Group (PSG). Lower primary students have structured library periods where teachers conduct storytelling and other reading activities in the library.
Partnership with NLB
RV collaborates with the National Library Board and invites them for the NLB Mass Borrowing session. This provides our students with yet another opportunity to borrow books and brings NLB closer to them. Our students are issued with booklets from the National Library (NLB) that list books of a theme similar to those of their English STELLAR readers. These books can be found in the National Library’s collections so that students who do not know what books to select are given a better idea of what is suitable and available.
English Language Week
English Language Week aims to promote the love for reading and the English Language. It is celebrated with a special theme each year with fun and engaging assembly programmes. Students explore the selected theme by taking part in the myriad of interesting activities that are conducted in class and in the canteen during recess.
Characters Come Alive Day!
A cast of characters will roam the school on this day during English Language Week. Students and staff come dressed as their favourite storybook characters, creating a colourful parade representing a wide range of novels. While it may be a very fun part of the day, dressing up is not what it is all about. The main purpose of this event is to get our students excited about reading, nurturing the love for reading. (pictures taken before Covid-19)
Integrated Learning Project (Social Studies for P4)
Through the Integrated Learning Project, students are provided opportunities to demonstrate Joy of Learning by showcasing or sharing their deep learning on a specific topic/ interest with their peers. In the case of the P4 students, they embark on a project related to Social Studies. Students will acquire deepened learning and build project management skills (e.g. research skills, collaboration skills, communication and presentation skills).