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Knowledge Alone is Not Enough!

After taking some time to reflect on an incredible week of learning with the amazing Dr. Anita Archer at the Explicit Instruction Academy Training of Trainers, I’ve crafted this summary of my time with her.  Throughout the training, Dr. Archer consistently emphasised three pivotal aspects. First, the 13 elements of explicit instruction, detailed later in this blog, that prepare students for learning expectations with remarkable logic and practicality. Mastering these elements is cruc...

July 11, 2024

Where have you been all my life?

Last week, the Minister of Education announced plans to mandate Structured Literacy in all state primary schools starting with Years 1-3 from 2025, covering all pupils up to Year 6 by 2027. Our team at Learning MATTERS is incredibly proud that this announcement was made at one of the exceptional schools who have trusted in us and partnered with us to support their implementation of Structured Literacy. Congratulations to Kogie, Deb, and their team at Manurewa West School.  Reaching thi...

May 10, 2024

Prioritising Clarity: We Cannot Afford to Pick-and-Mix

In the last half-decade, there has been a noticeable groundswell towards evidence-based literacy instruction in primary (and secondary) schools in New Zealand. This shift has primarily been driven by educators at the chalkface reshaping their teaching approach to incorporate the research and evidence. For many years the science about how the brain learns to read has been accessible to us. Unfortunately, the research conducted by cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists and linguists ha...

November 8, 2023

The Educational Highway: A Step-by-Step Roadmap for Implementing a Structured Literacy Approach

Structured Literacy is an evidence-based approach to teaching foundational reading skills. It bridges the gap between the science of reading and practical classroom application by emphasising systematic, explicit, and sequential teaching. Integrating an approach that is guided by the principles and elements of Structured Literacy into school curriculums is a significant step towards ensuring that all students possess a robust reading foundation, positioning them for academic achievements.Far too...

October 19, 2023

Unlocking the Literacy Landscape: Insights from our Symposia

Following the two events held in August, Learning MATTERS Consultant, Ruth Blair, pulled together insights from the Cultivating the Literacy Landscape Symposia, where our trio of keynote speakers delved into the intricacies of teaching reading and revealed a wealth of knowledge and strategies for fostering strong reading skills.Here are Ruth's insights into their keynotes....

September 6, 2023

Listen up, nobody said the key to successful reading instruction was just PHONICS!

During the past 28 years, I have been a principal, teacher, and parent within the education system. Throughout my career, I encountered students across a spectrum of reading abilities, from those with strong reading abilities to those who struggled immensely. However, my university training and professional development had not provided me with effective strategies for teaching children to read, and I found myself ill-equipped to teach the struggling readers. I relied on the "cues" associated wit...

July 6, 2023

Exploring Balanced Literacy and Structured Literacy: The Story of Different Reading Systems

Balanced Literacy and Structured Literacy are two distinct approaches to teaching. This blog post aims to summarise each approach, discuss their origins, and explore their methods of instruction. We also delve into what happens when a child first starts school. ...

June 5, 2023

A call for clarity and consistency in reading instruction across the years and tiers

The recent airing of Paddy's Got Issues highlighted high-level findings that confirm the resolution of the reading wars, reinforced by Laura Tupou's journalistic work.  We were thrilled to hear the Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti, commit to the fact change is needed, stating that if she were back in the classroom a Structured Literacy Approach would be her preference in the early years. She declares, “It is starting to become questionable that we do have two different approaches out ...

May 29, 2023

Knowledge, Execution and Structure. The keys to Reading SUCCESS for ALL

Teaching reading as Dr Louisa Moats would say really is ‘Rocket Science’. There is so much to learn with regards to what must be taught and the importance of explicit teaching throughout the teaching process.   I still often find myself saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now”. I, like many of you, have become a lot more accepting of the lack of knowledge and practice I had when I was a qualified classroom teacher and school principal, but I was untrained in how ...

October 12, 2022

Truths about dyslexia and the crucial nature of teaching spelling

A reflection of key areas of conversation from my Chit Chat with Dr Louisa Moats....

October 29, 2021

Dyslexia. Learning difference or learning disability?

During a recent Chit Chat with Bill Hansberry from Hansberry Educational Consulting based in Australia we discussed the following question. "Here (New Zealand), our government call dyslexia a “learning difference” rather than a learning disability…is that one of the problems in getting universities, teacher training etc on board?" When it comes to education, would the recognition of dyslexia as a disability place accountability on the government and other educational institutions to e...

October 22, 2021

The lottery of reading instruction in our schools, are you holding the winning ticket?

English is a complex language and although we are wired to learn to speak, we are not wired to learn to read or write. We must be taught....

September 9, 2021

Turning Passion into Success

A guest blog written by George McNeil....

September 3, 2021

The war is over - let’s look at the science

I really think the days of discussing whether or not we are at war are long gone. Hence, I wanted to take a moment to say ‘back the bus up’, but in this case I don’t think this saying quite fits. When we think about the progress occurring across New Zealand currently in the teaching of reading, I would liken the movement to a snowball effect. The momentum and impact is increasing day-by-day. Evidence-based literacy instruction (that is current, research and evidence-based and meets the nee...

August 3, 2021

Why Johnny Can't Read

A reflection of my Chit Chat with Distinguished Professor Emeritus William Tunmer, PhD. Why Johnny Can't Read—And What You Can Do About It is a 1955 book-length exposé on American reading education by Rudolf Flesch, which in essence urged a return to phonetic methods. Two years before this book was first published, well-known Distinguished Professor Emeritus William Tunmer was beginning his journey in California, USA as a 5 -year-old child being taught to read with an approach that...

May 15, 2021

We don't know what we don't know

I am saddened to say that during my teaching degree, I didn’t learn how to teach every child to become a successful reader and speller.  During my training, I was led to believe that children learn to read by looking at the word multiple times and that this would help them to commit that word to their long-term memory. Once I moved into the classroom, I learnt, as did many other teachers, to teach using a balanced literacy approach. It was the 90’s. A smattering of phonics and fully-fle...

April 27, 2021

Stand Beside Me Mum

Over the past few months my son has transitioned from being at school to heading out into the world as an independent young adult. And I have found the transition really challenging. Of course, I understand this is quite a normal feeling for a parent. But for the past 14 years, as he has continued to flourish under the roof of our family home, I have been on a mission. That mission has been to learn as much as I can, to advocate successfully, to impart knowledge, skills, and abilities to help d...

April 16, 2021

Who else wants the iDeaL approach to Structured Literacy?

We can learn from our mistakes and lack of quality knowledge and practice or we can sit in silence. In my mind what you choose to ignore you choose to accept and there was no way I could choose to ignore an ill-equipped system of teaching literacy in our amazing first world country once I knew better.I am certain that when I share the following with you, you may feel the same way to a certain degree.As a teacher, I wanted to do the very best for every student in my class. As a leader, I wanted t...

October 14, 2020

The Teaching Approach Helping Dyslexic Children All Over New Zealand

It’s systematic but it’s not simple. When it comes to intervening and supporting the root cause of dyslexia, the success of every dyslexic child rests with the teacher, educator, and or parent supporting him or her. No pressure right?So what is Dyslexia?The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as….“a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and ...

October 6, 2020

Better or Bitter?

I’m not going to sugarcoat this., the last thirteen years have been a challenging journey on the whole. All too often I find myself saying … “If I had known then what I know now…. I wish I could turn back the clock…… Oh how different things would be.. Whilst I can’t change my personal nor my professional journey, I am very very grateful for the experiences I’ve had; well most of them. I do hope that if you are starting out with a child in his or her early scho...

September 23, 2020

Let's not SHOULD on ourselves

“I didn’t know my child was finding learning that difficult. How could I not have noticed? My goodness have I failed them? I should have seen this coming.”Have you voiced this statement or one very similar in the past few weeks?Maybe you have recently sat with your child and listened to them read (or work so very hard to read). Or perhaps you have sat beside them as they have struggled their way through a writing task?...

May 21, 2020

Cracking the CODE with Syllable Division

Is your child able to read as well as you thought? Can they spell with relative accuracy?I was thinking, what could parents of dyslexic children and those struggling to read focus on at home during the lockdown? So many parents (on social media) have expressed their immense surprise (and concern) at their child’s actual ability to read fluently and spell accurately.The skill of syllable division is one we carry with us through life. It is a skill I wish I had learnt about as a classroom teache...

May 21, 2020

The alternative to a 'redressed' status quo... 'Pedagogy over Programmes'

Government's new dyslexia funding a 'redressed status quo' based on outdated research - advocate...

May 21, 2020

I Choose Courage

Resilience is getting up and going again when you hit a brick wall.Determination is getting up and going again when you feel like no one is listening.Courage is when you find the strength to continue to battle for something you believe in so strongly it hurts.A positive outlook is telling yourself this is a roadblock that will lead to bigger and brighter things.A growth mindset is telling yourself we will get through this.Perspective is telling yourself maybe you haven’t considered things from...

May 21, 2020

Will a routine rock you out of online overwhelm?

Over the past two weeks, it really has been lovely to connect with a number of teachers across the country, albeit, through the screen. On all occasions, our focus has been on structured literacy and how we can be charging forward with our professional learning and developing consistent practices in our respective schools. There has been an underlying current of doubt about this online learning caper and how teachers might set themselves up for rolling out online learning for their students.So m...

April 9, 2020 Posts 1-25 of 46 | Page next
 

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