27 July 2021

Take a phonics-based approach for early literacy learning

Phonetic-based reading breaks written language down into small and simple components. Children connect letter sounds and letter symbols. Synthetic phonics instruction focuses on teaching the individual sounds in a structured and systematic way.

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Identify what students can do

Identify what students can do

Tom Nicholson explains how using the alien words test (Appendix A.9a: Decoding and A.9b pp 50–53) enables you to identify exactly which sounds a learner can decode and provides a place to begin teaching from.

Develop phonological awareness

Develop phonological awareness

Plan to develop phonological awareness at the point the student can detect similarities in sounds between or within words. This may be at the level of the whole word, syllable, rhyme, onset and rime, or individual phonemes.

Read About dyslexia – Supporting literacy in the classroom pp 49–65.

Plan a structured programme

Plan a structured programme

Provide a structured sequence of phonic patterns that is cumulative.

Sounds and Words, an online resource developed by the Ministry of Education, provides support in four areas:

Source: Literacy Online (opens in a new tab/window)

Take a multi-sensory approach

Take a multi-sensory approach

Provide lots of practice by having students hear and say the sounds (not the letter names) while they see or make them to help conscious organisation and retention of learning.

8 Multisensory techniques for teaching reading gives practical examples.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Sound Sense Supporting reading and writing in years 1 3

Sound Sense: Supporting reading and writing in years 1-3

Read time: 35 min

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

Download PDF

Writing for impact Teaching students how to write with a plan and spell well

Writing for impact: Teaching students how to write with a plan and spell well

Publisher: NZCER Press

Price: One off charge NZ$90.00

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Support early literacy development through a structured literacy approach”:

Return to the guide “Dyslexia and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Dyslexia and learning