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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Effective Literacy Practice Years 1-4

To be successfully literate, students need to master three key areas of reading and writing: learning the code, making meaning, and thinking critically.

Learning the code: This means developing the ability to decode and encode written forms of language. The focus is on the conventions of written language and the skills required to read and write letters, words, and text. “Cracking the code” is an exciting intellectual challenge for learners.

Making meaning: This involves developing and using knowledge, strategies, and awareness in order to get and convey meaning when reading or writing. It also involves understanding the forms and purposes of different texts and becoming aware that texts are intended for an audience.

Thinking critically: Becoming literate involves reading and writing beyond a literal, factual level. It involves analysing meanings, responding critically to text when reading, and being critically aware when composing texts. It also involves responding to texts at a personal level, reflecting on them, and finding reward in being a reader and a writer.

  1. What we know about teaching reading and writing in years 1–4

    What we know about teaching reading and writing in Y1-4
  2. Approaches to teaching reading

    Approaches to teaching reading
  3. Deliberate acts of teaching

    Deliberate acts of teaching
  4. Building comprehension

    Building comprehension
  5. Text processing strategies

    Text processing strategies
  6. Creating texts

    Creating texts
  7. Approaches to teaching writing

    Approaches to teaching writing
  8. Writing hub

    Writing hub

This diagram links to information from Effective Literacy Practice Y1-4 that outlines approaches and examples for teaching reading and writing.

Resources

Oral language and literacy

The relationship between oral language and literacy learning is reciprocal. Children draw on their oral (or signed) language when they learn to read and write and in turn their progress in literacy learning enriches and expands their oral language.

Through focused discussion we can support students to:

  • extend their spoken and written vocabulary by studying the vocabulary associated with different topics and subject areas
  • construct meaning and build students’ metacognition and awareness of the ways in which language is used to influence readers and listeners

Key resources

Learning Through Talk: Oral Language in Years 1–3, and 4–8: available from  Down the Back of the Chair. Resources to help teachers understand the central role of oral language in supporting students’ learning. 

Classroom conversations (pp 94–95) and Conferences, interviews and conversations (pp 55–58) from Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8: available from  Down the Back of the Chair. It provides guidance on how to engage students in focused discussion around text.

Visual language

The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars - Visual Language
There are 40 visual language exemplars, covering the functions of static images and moving images as set out in  English in the New Zealand Curriculum.

Spelling

Sounds and Words
Support for teaching phonological awareness and spelling in years 1–8. This resource outlines what teachers need to know and what children need to learn at each of the different year bands.

Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4
Technical skills for writing: Spelling: this section provides information on the knowledge strategies and awareness students require in year 1–4 as they move towards accurate spelling. This includes knowledge and use of: phonemic awareness, letter sound relationships, orthographic patterns and the morphological structure of written English.

Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8
Technical skills for writing: Spelling: this section provides information on the knowledge strategies and awareness students require in year 5–8 to develop spelling expertise. This includes knowledge and use of: phonemic awareness, the relationship between sounds and spelling patterns, the morphological structure of written English, spelling rules and conventions, and spelling strategies for writing and proof reading.

Allcock, J. (2002).  Spelling Under Scrutiny
This resource provides an in-depth guide to the teaching of spelling including a critical look at the teaching of spelling and how spelling skills are acquired.

Literacy Learning Progressions: Meeting the Reading and Writing Demands of the Curriculum
This resource identifies the cumulative nature of literacy learning and describes the word level knowledge expected of students at particular points in their schooling.

Exploring Language: The word
This section of the resource provides information on: morphemes, how new words are created and how words have been derived from Latin and Greek. This information supports teachers to help students understand how words work. 

Exploring Language: Words and meanings
 This section of the resource provides information on word meanings and the relationships among these meanings. This knowledge will help provide instruction for developing students’ vocabulary and spelling. 




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