40 years of research sit behind structured literacy with a 95% success rate of children reaching the expected level for their year group. It starts simple and builds in complexity. 

This is a structured programme with explicit teaching and engaging multisensory activities. It is carefully sequenced into seven stages to teach children the 44 sounds of the English language and how to use these sounds when reading and writing e.g. each sound can be represented by different groups of letters such as the sound  /i/ sound in I, sky, pie, ice, cycle and that a letter (or group of letters) can represent different sounds, such as the letter ‘y’ in yes, gym, funny, sky.

We teach structured Literacy with the Little Learners Love Literacy resources. Classrooms display a visual of the stages children progress through, with the sounds taught within each stage. Assessment is carried out to place the children on the correct stage and to then monitor progress through the stages. This assessment would be passed from one class to the next.

Stages 1 to 4 will focus on phonics for all the single-letter sounds to build the strongest foundations for reading, writing and spelling success. Children will learn to recognise each letter shape and make its corresponding sound. They will also learn to hear a letter sound and then write its corresponding shape forming it correctly.

Click here to hear how we teach the sound for single letters

Once children know a bank of letters they will learn to use these letters to read and write words e.g recognise letters, attach and say the sound they know for the letters, then blend the letters together to form a word for reading e.g. /m/ /a/ /t/ says mat (decoding). They will also learn to hear sounds through a word, attach the letter shape they know to the sound they hear and write it to form a word (encoding).

Children will learn, understand and use terms such as consonants, vowels, and syllables. They will begin decoding and encoding words that are consonant, vowel, consonant words known as ‘cvc’ words e.g. mat ten pin dog fun.

At each stage, children will be taught a set of ‘Heart words’ which are high frequency or interest words that children need to learn by ‘heart’ as they do not have the knowledge to decode them at the stage they are introduced e.g the, for, here, what, could.

Once children have learned the first stage of letters (recognise, sound, write and use) and the heart words they will apply what they know by reading structured books that contain a combination of heart words and decodable words. They will also use these words to write phrases and sentences. This will form part of the classroom programme.

When children have achieved this they move beyond single letter sounds to sounds represented by different groups of letters with some rules to understand when to use them e.g /a/ as in ai and ay – no English words end in i so ai is always in the middle of a word, ay is at the end of a word.

Children will then learn to read and write words containing these sounds and move from decoding and encoding cvc words to ccvc words e.g. swam, sped clip crop slug and cvcc words e.g. camp, best, risk, soft, jump and ccvcc words stand, crept, drift, frost, trust. They will learn about word endings e.g ed, ing, er.

Again children will apply what they have learned by reading structured books that contain heart words or words they can get to by decoding and writing more detailed sentences. This will again form part of the classroom programme.

How to help at home

  • Practise new sounds (see phonics book) and revisit previously learned sounds to reinforce them.
  • Find and notice single sounds and sounds made by letter combinations in books shared at home, signs etc.
  • Practise writing letters correctly (Casey caterpillar formation-see phonics book).
  • Support the learning of heart words- read and write.
  • Lets spell sheets – practise writing words at home ( cvc, cvcc, ccvc etc)
  • Read and share stories at home and discuss new vocabulary in these. Discuss and question what the story was about to develop comprehension.
  • Use home language to support understanding and vocabulary.
  • Oral language is the most important gift we can give our children. Help children to understand their world by talking about what they see, feel and do. Share experiences with children by having rich discussion to further develop vocabulary and continually extend oral language. All of this will support the reading and writing process.
  • Once the children have reached 7.2- 7.3  of the Structured Literacy programme children will bring home levelled readers to share and read at home.

The graph to show progress on Mid and End of Year Reports.

Reading at home - a whānau guide (Eng) 

Reading at home - a whānau guide (Korean) 

Reading at home - a whānau guide (Chinese) 

Structured Literacy Year 3

The Year 3 children will continue their Reading learning journey from where they finished at the end of Year 2.

Those children who have reached stage 7.3 will transfer to the Colour wheel leveled reading programme.

Children who are on stage 7.2 will continue to work through the stage and bring home a reading book from a browsing box where they can select their own reader. (This book will not have been read with the teacher so have your child read this to you at home).

The children who are still working within Stage 1 – 7.2 will continue to work through the stages in their reading group time and will use the decodable readers during their reading lesson.

All the Year 3 classes will be using a programme called “The Code” which supports the teaching of spelling through a Structured Literacy approach. This is an explicit and systematic teaching approach.

The intended outcome of teaching “The Code” is for students to apply their knowledge of letter-sound relationships, spelling patterns and rules, when spelling, writing and reading.