Kia ora whānau,
This is an information letter providing an update around our school-wide approach to teaching Reading and Writing - Structured Literacy.
The Structured Literacy approach is based on over 40 years of world-wide academic research. It is an approach in which children are taught systematically and explicitly to firstly recognise speech sounds, as our brains are designed primarily to process speech. Reading and writing are human inventions, so it is vital we work from speech and then move to print. Children are taught to recognise individual words, syllables, onset sounds, rime and individual sounds in a word.
At the same time, children are gradually introduced to the letters of the alphabet and the sounds the letters represent. They are also taught to write the letters. As the children increase their letter/sound knowledge, they will be shown how to read and write words with these letters.
The children will be learning to read using decodable books. Stage 1 of these books contain words the children can decode (sound out) using the first group of 8 letters (m, s, f, a, p, t, c and i). Stage 2 introduces 8 more letters, and so on. As the English language is not phonetic, the teachers will gradually introduce the spelling rules and patterns we need to know in order to read and write in English. The books we will be using follow a sequence and will support the teaching.
Your child will not necessarily bring books home straight away. They need to know the first 8 letters and the sounds they represent, as well as the skills of segmenting and blending sounds, before being given a text. This is to ensure success and accurate reading, rather than guessing. In the first instance, we will be supplying you with flashcards for each of the sounds the children are being taught. Reinforcing the sounds they have learnt at school, when at home with you, will be extremely helpful for your child.
In our Senior Classes the explicit, sequential teaching will be done with small target groups and also through daily whole class phonological awareness and spelling sessions.
Your child may bring their Literacy Folder home (NE to Year 4). Inside you will find literacy resources that you can use at home to support their learning. Please ensure the folder is returned to school the next day with all the resources inside. If your child does not bring a Literacy Folder home, they can choose a book of their choice to read, to continue to support their literacy development.
We are excited to be helping the tamariki with our fun, engaging and evidence-based literacy programme this year.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your child’s Home Group Teacher.