Chit Chat with Katie Tompkins

Join Carla and Katie as they chat about implementing Structured Literacy in a secondary intervention setting.


Katie Tomkins is an experienced educator who has spent 25 years working in classrooms and educational leadership in New Zealand and overseas. Katie is Head of Learning Support and Literacy Leader at Wakatipu High School in Queenstown where she teaches intervention. In addition to experience in teacher education, Katie has also participated in a wide range of educational opportunities that have been outside the scope of experience of many educators. These include the appointment as Head Teacher of Saint Mary’s Hospital Unit in London, and being one of nine teachers selected nationally to travel to Ukraine where she attended a research-based professional development programme studying practical examples and strategies for improving social inclusion in inner-city areas. A self-directed learner at the chalkface, Katie has moved beyond the research and taken the Science of Reading into the reality of a classroom, and it works! Espoused theories in action versus theory-in-use. Secondary classes with multiple students who struggle to read, let alone write!


  • 3.00 min what instigated your move to implementing a Structured Literacy approach.
  • 5.48 min Wakatipu High School’s Structured Literacy Journey
  • 10.00 min Summary of instigating the move to Structured Literacy
  • 14.45 min Key points on what you can do
  • 15.20 min Discussing the awareness-to-action cycle, and the fact that it is continuous.
  • 16.25 min What steps were taken to ensure alignment supporting intervention and teaching in classroom. How knowledge was built with the heads of departments and the team.
  • 21.34 min The importance of upskilling the team
  • 28.14 min Summary of “where do I start?”
  • 32.00 min Discussing that it’s not just an intervention approach, it’s a quality practice across the board. But what does it look like in intervention across the school?
  • 43.30 min How would you explain/describe the outcome for students and the wider team at Wakatipu High School.
  • 49.30 min Closing comments and advice to those looking to start their journey.


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