Friday, April 19, 2019

Everyone is advantaged by a structured literacy approach

Inquiry question: What strategies will best support students literacy learning in my class?


Bridging the gap between neuroscience, evidence-based research and classroom teaching
‘Structured Literacy approach’
Liz Kane Literacy
Tuesday 16th April 2019



Tennis Ball on Tennis Racket on Floor
Reading is like Tennis - Tennis is complex

  • Specific skills that develop to a level of automaticity
  • The strategy of how to play the game
  • We wouldn’t teach children the whole game of tennis, rather specific skills


In the same manner, we shouldn’t go to the whole to teach children to read.


Children with good memories and guessing strategies can look as though they are reading. Then you present them with words they have never seen before.
Centre for Independent studies education researcher
Jennifer Buckingham


The English alphabet has 22 letters (44) sounds and (over 200) spellings of the sounds.


What does the last 20 years of research tell us?
What happens in the brain when we learn to read?
What implications does this have in how reading should be taught?


Phonemic awareness
  • To learn the alphabet the brain first must learn to speak
  • Brain not wired for reading
  • We use circuits in the brain that we already use for recognising faces to start recognising letters
  • The challenge is to turn the letters into sounds


Dr Stanislas Deheane

Phonemes - a set of motor movements that are encoded with the sound signal
explicitly showing the movements as well as hear the sound.


Phonemic awareness - Identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in words
is a strong predictor of reading success

David Kilpatrick
Aggressively teach the code to these kids. - orthographic mapping


The English Alphabetic Code - the most complex code
Teach 5-year-olds the consonants and vowels of the word


Lesson sequence


Authors to follow up
  • The Simple view of Reading (Gough and Tunmer 1986)
  • Scarborough’s Reading Rope (2001)
  • Excellence and Equity in Literacy Education James Chapman and Bill Tunmer
  • Alison Arrow
  • Canterbury University Literacy Education
  • Maryanne Wolf


So what does this mean for me?
  • In Term 2, I am going to be very intentional about teaching ‘the code’ explicitly.
  • I am going to carry out a number of phonological awareness assessments.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Ko wai au?


Tēna koutou katoa
Ko Putahi toku maunga
Ko Wairoro toku awa
Ko Ngatokimatuwhauroa toku waka
Ko Kohewhata toku marae
Ko Ngāpuhi toku iwi
Ko Te Uri o Hua toku hapu
Ko Aotearoa toku wāhi

I te taha o tōku matua ko Tamati Ferguson rāua ko Edith Ferguson nee Pure ōku tūpuna
I te taha o tōku whaea ko Taurariki Kamana rāua ko Tukura Kamana nee Karika ōku tūpuna
Ko Thomas Ferguson raua ko Tekura Viikirangi Kamana ōku mātua
Ko Murray Ikihele tōku hoa rangatira
Ko Lee, Ko Ethyn āku tama
Ko Mia, Ko Brooke āku tamāhine
Ko Naketa Ikihele toku ingoa
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Play-based learning road trip - Reflections

As part of our OCoL (Ōtara Continuity of Learning) group here in Otara, Auckland we have scheduled a number of road trips. These are opportunities to see learning and spaces in action.

Last week we had the great pleasure of visiting three spaces - Glen Taylor Primary School, Botany Downs Kindergarten and Kings School ELC. What an awesome experience. Each space was different, unique and totally catered to their people! 

Here's what I learned:

Glen Taylor
* Unproductive behaviour is minimised in PBL - for the whole time we were there 1.5 hours every child was engaged and doing/learning something. 
* Collaboration works - this school had two classes with a space between and the students just went between depending on their interests. The noise level was minimal as they were in two separate spaces.
* Resources - there were some super cool resources in this space it reminded me to really look at what I have available to my students.

Kings School ELC
* Environments impact behaviour
* Defined spaces help focus learning - they had an office set up like an office!
* They were also sewing with their students
* Op Shops are your friend! There are some cool sturdy pieces available that make the room look calming and homely, it doesn't break the bank and minimises waste.

Botany Downs
* If set up right, the classroom can be the third teacher
* Agency was executed at its finest in this space. There were 40 students in this space and all engaged in something.
* Think about your childhood and what was great learning for you, then try and replicate this for the children in your space.

Obviously what I saw was heavily influenced by what is on top for me right now - I am really thinking about the rights of the child and our role in ensuring they experience a magical childhood! 

My biggest takeaway from today though was probably THE ENVIRONMENT - how might I be more intentional about creating a space that nurtures curiosity and wonder?

Watch this space for my discoveries.