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

Selecting texts

Teachers use their knowledge of their students plus their knowledge of literacy learning to select texts and learning goals that meet the students’ learning needs. As well as developing a self-extending reading processing system, students need to be able to respond to texts and think critically about them.

Factors to consider when selecting texts include:

  • the text’s use of particular features, for example, dialogue, characterisation, paragraphing, or poetic or descriptive language 
  • the complexity and length of sentences
  • the range and complexity of vocabulary
  • cultural and ethnic perspectives
  • the support given by illustrations. 

Choosing a text involves getting the supports and challenges right for a group of children.  The teacher support materials for individual Ready to Read titles provide information to assist teachers in selecting appropriate texts.

Talking to Nanny

Talking to Nanny book cover.

I use Talking to Nanny (Yellow 1) a lot because it works on so many levels. It makes a strong emotional connection to students – most children understand the experience of having family or close friends who live far away.  The text and the illustrations show a very warm relationship between Aroha, her mother, and Nanny. It gives it a really authentic link to the Health curriculum: Explore and share ideas about relationships with other people.  

I like the inclusion of the phrases in te reo Māori (“Kia ora” and “Ka kite”). My students love it and for those who also speak other languages, it provides an opportunity to share the words they use for greetings and farewells.

I also like the way the text shows the use of technology (the photos and the computer) to help solve their problem, a nice link to the use of the cell phone in Where is Aunty? that comes in later at Yellow 3.

At the word and sentence level, there is just the right level of challenge for students who are just starting Yellow – a nice mix of variation and repetition of sentence structure, the use of the pronoun “she”, and the inclusion of dialogue, building on nicely from Shoes for the King (at Red), which also has these features.

Teacher, year 1 class

Updated on: 20 Nov 2014

Ordering resources

These texts are provided to all primary schools. Additional or replacement copies can be ordered from  Down the Back of the Chair.