Welcome to the iDeaL Approach for Learning

Providing you with the knowledge and tools you will need to teach foundational literacy skills

Are you a teacher with students that are struggling to learn to spell and read?

Perhaps you suspect that teaching spelling is important, but you don’t know why or where to start.

Is everyone in your school doing different things when it comes to the teaching of spelling and reading?

Do you wish there was an alignment between what is taught in class and interventions so your students moved further and faster?

Do you wish you could just get on and teach, no planning necessary?

Data we have gathered from a selection of schools across New Zealand indicates that many children on school entry have low foundational literacy skills . 

Less than 20% of students who have come into school are able to blend or segment sounds in words. 

Less than 50% of students are unable to hear initial sounds in words.   

If schools were to do what they have always done, they would take these children straight to a text, without the knowledge that these students are missing vital phonological skills.

Imagine if...

You finally had the knowledge, practice and resources to teach those struggling readers and writers in your classroom or school. 

Coupled with a way to truly measure your students’ progress in the foundational skills required for literacy success...

Because let’s be honest, measuring progress has always been hit and miss! 

And what if this was all located in one place. 

A place where you as a teacher (or team of teachers) were fully supported with the tools and resources you need to help your students succeed with their literacy and spelling. Because that’s what it’s all about. 

We all go to school to make a difference to students.

How good would it be having access to a learning platform that will give you the tools to identify and explicitly teach, ensuring reading and spelling are not left to chance?

iDeaL is an approach that will lead to increased student outcomes in reading fluency, vocabulary and writing when delivered as intended.

"I want this for every child, school, leader, parent, community and student advocates across our country."

Hi, I am Carla the founder of Learning Matters, an ex-school principal, mother of a dyslexic teenager, and a recovering whole language advocate.

There simply is no way to sugar coat the fact that when in my school leadership role I came to realise too many students on my watch weren’t progressing in reading and writing as we suspected they were capable of. Whilst my hunch told me spelling was important I was unaware of the extensive body of research (the Science of Reading) clearly proving how all brains learn to read and spell. Not just the dyslexic brain, but every brain. The fact that this wasn’t well known and or put into practice had me feeling (as a committed leader in education) like I was sitting on a golden egg. I wanted to find an effective and efficient way to bring this to all classrooms. A way that would see all teachers having the confidence and tools to truly make a difference to literacy rates in new Zealand. 

After years of research, professional development both nationally and internationally, monitoring student progress and working with 1000’s of dyslexic students, their teachers and families we have seen the same incredible progress time and time again. The same shift in teacher knowledge and practice and the same community impact. 

"It is critical that difficulties learning to read are identified as early as possible and that intensive and well-targeted interventions are provided to students. Teachers must take action when difficulties with reading are identified, rather than waiting for a formal diagnosis of dyslexia" (Hanks, 2011).


The iDeaL Approach to Learning

 An online platform providing educators with an informative, diagnostic, systematic, and cumulative approach to deliver Structured Literacy through direct instruction in both mainstream classes and intervention settings. 

So what's included in the iDeaL Approach?

Professional Learning Modules

Learn about the:

  • Science of Reading
  • The principles and elements of Structured Literacy
  • The process of Orthographic Mapping (how we commit words to long term memory)
  • Reading fluency
  • Syllable types and syllable division
  • Spelling rules. 

Each module includes carefully selected materials including videos and readings and a quiz at the end of each module to check your progress. These modules may be completed individually, in teams and or as a whole staff. 

Assessment Tools

The ability to determine your student's capabilities and immediate teaching needs in both phonological awareness and alphabetic principle (spelling). 

Stage 1,2,3 and 4 assessments which are able to be administered to all Students in years 1-13, and students who are struggling with reading and writing. The ability to measure progress in areas that sit beneath reading fluency and give greater insight into what might have been missing in your current teaching approach.

Individual, group and comparison reporting

Student data can be entered into the iDeaL platform and will save automatically. Reports for individuals, groups, classes, cohorts and across a whole school will be generated and show you where to begin teaching. Progress and comparison reports generated throughout the year are used to report to parents, school leaders and the Board of Trustees.

Teaching Resources

  • Phonological Awareness Scope and Sequence
  • Alphabetic Principle Scope and Sequence
  • Lesson PowerPoints and teaching material
  • Lesson planning templates (for those who can’t let these go)
  • Instructional practice videos
  • 40 systematic concepts including word lists, sentences, fluency passages and independent activities
  • Roll and Read activities for building fluency
  • Vocabulary activities
  • Electronic decodable texts

How to guides

To get you started and guide you every step of the way.
Frequently Asked Questions         

We know that all brains learn to read the same way.

The International Dyslexia Association advocates for a Structured Literacy approach.
The iDeaL approach will enable you to implement gold standard evidence-based teaching practices for your dyslexic students in mainstream classrooms and intervention.

Why choose the iDeaL Approach for Learning?

Improved Teacher Knowledge

Teachers will become increasingly knowledgeable, as they work through carefully selected learning modules to help build their capabilities in order to successfully teach crucial literacy skills.

School wide consistent pedagogy and practise

When implemented across a team or school a consistent and sustained pathway will begin to develop. Students will build on foundation literacy skills with success because teachers know how to teach each and every brain to read. 

Access to tools for assessment & all teaching resources

Teaching at their fingertips. No planning necessary. Assessments which have been designed to guide and direct systematic teaching practices and provide a personalised learning plan for students.

The ability to grow as a community of learners

Become part of the iDeaL community and experience success together! Grow your knowledge alongside your colleagues as you work towards consistent evidence based knowledge and practices. 

Happy and confident teachers

Increased student outcomes and supportive and engaged whanau. No second guessing. Be reassured that you are not leaving reading to chance!

“As a leader I am excited about the whole school journey and the fact that when I talk about a 'dictated sentence' we all know what that sounds and looks like. Knowing that what we are doing now is making a difference. To think where we will be in time both as a staff with an increased awareness and knowledge and when the students who are now in the Junior Block are leaving our school as Year 6's.” 
Senior Teacher and Literacy Teacher

You will need to get in fast if you are ready to create change in your classroom!

Please note: Our 2021 intake for the iDeaL Approach is closed Friday 4th June.

So what does it cost to become part of the iDeaL Community?

Investment for an annual membership

Per User up to 9 Users

Per user up to 10 - 19 Users

20 or More Users

$249 + gst per user for single users or schools of up to 9 users

$229 + gst per user for schools with up to 19 users

$199 + gst per user for schools of 20 or more users

Still need more Information?

Download to read about the development of the iDeaL Approach for Learning. 

Still have questions?

Does every teacher in my school have to sign up to iDeaL?

You can sign up as an individual teacher, or every teacher in your school can sign up. We can cater to all requirements.

How many students can I have for my membership?

You can have up to 35 students added to your class on the iDeaL Platform 

What support do I receive?

As part of your membership, you will become part of our iDeaL Community. This means you will receive monthly newsletters, become a member of our iDeaL Community Facebook page as well as step by step instructions to help guide you through using the iDeaL Platform. 

Who is iDeaL for?

Whole Schools, Individual teachers, Sencos, RTLBs, RT Lits, LSCs

I am a Homeschooling parent, can I access the iDeaL Schools platform?

Yes, absolutely provided you have been granted an exemption to homeschool.

Will my school senco, teacher aides have access to the platform too?

Please contact us to discuss your particular setup needs.

Do we have to work with you in a consultancy capacity to access this?


I’m guessing you will be thinking 1 of 2 things

You are so ready for this...

In fact, you now realise you need to develop your knowledge and you want ALL teachers to be on the same page.

Please register your interest for our next intake!

This sounds great, but...

I would like to talk to someone further about the iDeaL Approach for Learning. One of our team will be able to talk through your specific circumstances and whether iDeaL is the right fit for you. 

So what do other people think about the iDeaL Approach?


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