Structured Literacy in the Junior School
We are using ‘The Better Start to Literacy Approach’ (BSLA) to teach early literacy in the first year at school. It is an integrated approach to support children’s early reading, writing and oral language success.
The Better Start to Literacy Approach has been developed to make close links between the way a child naturally learns to speak, and the written language. This approach improves efficiency in learning and promotes a self-teaching approach. Children are taught phonological awareness including identifying letter/sounds, segmentation of decodable words, blending of sounds and manipulation where children can apply their skills to a range of new words.
Traditional approaches to learning to read and write that rely on memorisation of sight words are not used in this approach. High-frequency words that are not decodable are learned through repetition and frequent exposure in early texts. Our neurodiverse and young learners can feel successful from the beginning of their schooling because they will learn how to break and make words at the phoneme level. It’s a bit like a code breaker!
This approach provides an inclusive learning environment where all children can succeed and continue to develop first language skills alongside English.
Whānau engagement is critical to the success of this approach. Practical support on how best to help at home is provided through information sessions and updates shared via Seesaw.
This approach has been extensively trialled in schools across New Zealand and has been proven to be successful in maximising children’s opportunities for early literacy success. We are excited to monitor the success of this approach within our school.