The Structured Literacy Approach at Tīrau Primary School

Tirau Parent Information Session.mp4

This is a video where Marion Kirby, the Learning Matters Consultant working with our school presented an overview of Structured Literacy for our community.

Over the past 100 years the teaching of reading and writing has taken a number of forms often based on the theories and tried ideas of amazing educators. Now in 2022 we have the benefit of research and evidence into the brain learns that allows us to implement programmes that are scientifically proven.

The Structured Literacy Approach is the result of 1000's of research studies that have proven the brain only learns to read in one way.

The starting point to reading is sound. The simple notion is that reading is figuring out how the sounds we hear and know how to say connect to letters and words. The diagram to the left explains how the brain learns how to do this.

It is important to understand that the written word is a code developed by humans to record things and the brain is not wired to naturally 'crack the code' - this is something readers need to be taught to do through a systematic, cumulative scope (what is taught) and sequence (order it is taught)

For about 40% of learners learning to read appears to come naturally and they make quick progress. These student will still benefit from a Structured Literacy approach as it supports spelling and writing as well as reading.

Our next group of learners need some of the specific help that a Structured Literacy approach provides to support their literacy learning.

For our learners who take longer to grasp reading and writing proficiency, a Structured Literacy approach provides the essential building blocks needed to support their progress and development.

The Scope and Sequence of Structured Literacy

The initial building block is learning and knowing sounds of all the letters, - this is Phonemic Awareness - the ability to hear, perceive and manipulate the smallest units of spoken sound and developing Phonological Awareness and is usually done as part of Oral Language where the children learn to identify and manipulate units of oral language, i.e syllables, onset and rime.

Alphabetic Principle is the next building block and this is where children learn about the letter to sound and sound to letter correspondence of spelling patterns within syllable types and irregular spelling patterns. They also begin to build up an expanding bank of sight word vocabulary they can instantly recall.

Syllable Types

One of the important components of Structured Literacy is learning about the different syllable types. Below is a document to explain what the different syllable types are: