“How do you spell that?”

Posted Monday May 13, 2024

Kia ora e te Whānau,

Open syllables”; “closed syllables”; “schwa sounds”; “long vowels”; “short vowels”… if your rangatahi is in Year 7, 8 or 9 you may have heard about some of these things over the last two weeks. That is because, when last Thursday's Government announcements were being made about Structured Literacy in the future, St Peter’s, Hato Petera, had already been on the Structured Literacy pathway since Term Four 2023. It was then that we began our partnership with Learning Matters who provide the iDeal digital platform.

Earlier in 2023 Lisa Sanson, Learning Support Coordinator for both St Mary’s and St Peter’s, began sharing what she was learning about the concept of Structured Literacy through her St Mary’s mahi and her own research. St Mary’s and Gore Main, two of our contributing schools were working with iDeal and seeing great success for ākonga in their spelling. Informative kōrero, conversations, with both Mal Hood and Glenn Puna, tumuaki, Principals, of those kura, more research and deliberation with kaimahi, staff, at St Peter’s culminated in our decision to introduce a Structured Literacy approach to spelling in 2024.

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

                                                             Focused . . .

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

                                                             Engaged . . .

Professional Learning and Development (PLD) for our kaiako has been intense, beginning last year with observations of our Kahui Ako Across School Literacy Lead, Maria Hansen, delivering the programme in her classroom at St Mary’s, Hata Maria. Maria has been fantastic and continues to work with our kaiako. Then there was a full day in late January followed by half-day and weekly PLD sessions, as well as the “homework” tutorials that needed to be completed. They are amazing, our kaiako. They have thrown themselves into this learning experience wholeheartedly and it has been wonderful to watch the ākonga respond in their classrooms this week.  

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

                                                                 Learning . . .

All decisions about teaching and learning should be based on sound data and evidence-based research. Working with Learning Matters to deliver this programme which is based on the Science of Reading, allows us to do this for our rangatahi and for you, their whānau. Our kaiako are very excited to have started this programme (if only you could hear the buzz in the corridors and staffroom!), and we will continue to keep you updated via our newsletters and whānau information sessions where relevant.

Image by: Amy-Rae Rooijackers

                                                     Learning together . . .

“And what about the ākonga?” you might ask, “how is it going for them?” Well, please ask them – they were certainly very articulate and could explain every concept they had covered in the four classrooms that I have been in this week. Maybe ask specifically about the vowels - there has been a lot of chat about the difference between te reo Māori and English – this has been one of the biggest ‘ah ha’ moments across the school for everyone!  

Bridget Ryan
Deputy Principal Teaching and Learning