Better Start Literacy Approach

The Better Start Literacy Approach is an integrated classroom literacy programme for Year 0/1 classrooms. The approach is based on several years of research trials investigating the most efficient and effective methods to support children’s early reading, writing and oral language success. It incorporates vocabulary development using quality children’s story books, structured teaching of critical phonological awareness skills and letter-sound knowledge through fun, game-based activities, activities making explicit links to the reading and spelling context, and structured small group reading sessions using the new Ready to Read – Phonics Plus early readers series. The Better Start Literacy Approach follows a phonics scope and sequence that is used in the class and small group reading teaching.

The Better Start Literacy Approach also incorporates carefully designed monitoring assessments focused on critical early skills known influence reading success. This includes letter-sound knowledge, phonological awareness, oral language, word reading and spelling, and connected text tasks, specifically designed to monitor children’s literacy growth in their first year of school, and provide specific direction for teaching at the class and individual level.

Whānau engagement is a critical component of early literacy success. The Better Start Literacy Approach also includes whānau workshop materials and other supporting content such as weekly letters to parents and strengths-based reporting, to facilitate whānau-school partnerships and maximise children’s’ opportunities for early literacy success.

There are three separate microcredential options available for schools or specialists wishing to implement Better Start Literacy Approach in their school or cluster.

The Better Start Literacy Approach (BSLA) is an evidence-based framework for facilitating early literacy success in young tamariki. Successful implementation of the BSLA requires literacy professionals skilled in supporting kaiako and kura to implement the assessment and teaching through a coaching and mentoring model. Suitable professionals include Resource Teachers for Literacy, Resource Teachers for Learning and Behaviour, Speech Language Therapists or other literacy specialists. Completion of this course will provide participants with all the skills and resources required to lead the implementation of the BSLA in their chosen kura, kāhui ako or cluster.

Facilitators need to be partnered with 2-3 Year 0/1 teachers, in order to complete the requirements of the training. Partner school/s must be declared at the time of registration.

Cost: $2500 (includes resource kete).

Additional costs not covered by the microcredential fee:

  • All costs to attend 1 x 2 day face-to-face workshop in Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland.

Effective literacy teaching in a child’s first year at school can set them on a pathway to later academic and life success. The Better Start Literacy Approach incorporates the best practices for literacy teaching in phonological awareness, letter sound knowledge and oral language, with small group reading using a systematic reading series. This course provides a practice-focused learning experience of evidence-based literacy instruction to ensure success for all early learners. Extensive coaching and mentoring support will be provided through a partnership with a Facilitator in your community. The microcredential includes access to online, self-directed learning covering all aspects of the approach. In addition, teachers will gain access to the approach’s online assessment and teaching materials, including resources and lesson plans for classroom and small group reading teaching using the Ready to Read – Phonics Plus early readers. Any teacher wanting to complete this microcredential must be partnered with a new or previously trained Facilitator, whose name must be declared at the time of registration.

Cost: $750 per person.

Additional costs not covered by the microcredential fee:

  • Resource kete, which provides hard-copies of all resources required to implement the programme, will cost an additional $150 per kit. Electronic copies of all resources are available for free.
  • $80 per child for 1 year of oral language transcription and analysis (3 x assessment points; all other assessments are covered by the microcredential cost).
  • Schools supporting teachers to complete this microcredential are recommended to fund two days of teacher release time to support training and planning of the approach.

Supporting classroom teachers to implement high quality, evidence-based literacy teaching is part of an important role played by Teacher Aides. This course provides all the knowledge required to support the assessment and implementation of the Better Start Literacy Approach in New Entrant/Year 1 classrooms, with a particular focus on an individual child requiring additional support to engage with the learning within a classroom context. Teacher Aides must be employed by a school who is currently or has previously completed the Teacher microcredential, and this must be declared at the time of registration.

Cost: $500 per person.

For more information about microcredentials, here are some Microcredential FAQs.

For more information about Better Start Literacy Approach, visit our website.

Complete the below online form to sign up