All tamariki have the right to receive and benefit from evidence-based literacy education.
We know the most beneficial way for our tamariki to become successful readers and writers is with a systematic and evidence-based teaching approach that is based on the Science of Reading.
An Approach Called Structured Literacy.
Inspire, enable and influence
the education of all learners.
All learners have the right
to be successful in life.
As a mother of a child with learning differences and experience as a former teacher and principal, Carla McNeil came to realise that some changes needed to be made.
After spending years researching and undertaking professional development, she founded Learning MATTERS in 2016 with a primary focus to provide learning support to tamariki with literacy learning differences.
The Demand Was High, but Why?
Learning MATTERS use an evidence-based approach called Structured Literacy, which is the gold standard for teaching students with dyslexia. The demand for learning support was high. Carla quickly realised that to make the biggest difference for our tamariki, change was needed within the mainstream classroom.
“A shift in literacy practice in schools throughout New Zealand will make the biggest difference and ultimately change the course of literacy outcomes for New Zealand.”
Developing the iDeaL Approach for Schools
In 2020, Learning MATTERS developed and launched the iDeaL Approach for Schools which includes an online platform that builds knowledge and provides tools to teachers to be able to effectively teach foundational literacy through a Structured Literacy approach. Normalising this teaching approach in classrooms leads to increased success and creates a more inclusive learning environment.
"Throughout my teaching career I have vivid memories of students I had taught who were unable to read and write. As a beginning teacher I often thought that perhaps it just hadn’t ‘clicked’ for these students. I was unaware however, of the implications of a student going through six years of schooling not being a confident and or capable reader or speller. I feel somewhat ashamed sharing this, but it is this very realisation, and the strong desire to create change for many students and teachers across the country that led to the development of iDeaL."
In addition, Learning MATTERS established a consultancy arm to guide and enable schools with the implementation of Structured Literacy approach supported by the iDeaL Approach.
Today, the iDeaL Approach is used by 1000’s of teachers throughout New Zealand. During an TV interview in 2021, Penny O’Brien (Principal of Ladbrook School who is using iDeaL) commented about the implementation of a Structured Literacy approach, “It’s beyond phenomenal, and it’s about what you see but it’s also about what you feel”.
Providing Support for Specialists
In early 2022, Learning MATTERS developed the iDeaL Specialist Platform which provides professional development, assessments, and a resource platform for intervention specialists. This ensures that the intervention provided is evidence-based and aligned with what is happening in mainstream classrooms.
Intervention Teaching Certification
In 2023, Learning MATTERS launched the Learning MATTERS Intervention Teaching Certification (LMIT). Participants of the LMIT course are supported in learning and administering quality intervention assessment tools suitable for creating diagnostic education plans for use during evidence-based literacy instruction.
Why We Do What We Do
Language-based learning differences such as dyslexia impact more than learning to read and write. It can have a wide-ranging impact on physical, behavioural and emotional wellbeing. But if those who are struggling with language-based learning differences such as dyslexia are supported at the very earliest opportunity - with the right research and evidence-based interventions - well, they’ll have the opportunity to flourish.
We are a passionate team with an overarching goal to support an andragogical and pedagogical shift in literacy practice to ensure literacy outcomes are lifted for students in New Zealand. We believe this can be achieved through clear and consistent direction and with a Structured Literacy approach that aligns the explicit and systematic teaching of literacy to learners of all abilities.
We are committed to our purpose and vision to inspire, enable and influence the education of all learners because all learners have the right to be successful in life.