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.

Ministry of Education funding will be available in 2021 for facilitators and teachers to complete the BSLA microcredentials. Applications for funding for Semester 2 open on May 10th, and will be managed by the Ministry of Education. For more information on funding, see their website.

Information on how to enrol for the Semester 2 cohort will be available shortly.

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.

Ministry of Education funding will be available in 2021 for facilitators and teachers to complete the BSLA microcredentials.

  • For Frequently Asked Questions about microcredentials, click here.
  • For details on the activities and time requirements for Facilitators during the microcredential training, click here.

MINISTRY FUNDED PLACES

Funding covers:

  • Microcredential fee ($2500)
  • Reasonable travel and accommodation costs to Christchurch or Auckland for 2-day workshop
  • Resource kete
  • Access to all online resources, lesson plans, game activities, assessments, data analysis and reporting

Semester Two Workshop Dates

  • Christchurch: July 29th and 30th, 2021
  • Auckland: August 3rd and 4th, 2021

PRIVATELY FUNDED PLACES (limited to 10)

Cost:

  • $2500 (includes microcredential fee, resource kete, access to all online resources, lesson plans, game activities, assessments, data analysis and reporting)
  • Costs to attend 1 x 2 day face-to-face workshop in Christchurch or Auckland; some accommodation subsidies may be available

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.

Ministry of Education funding will be available in 2021 for facilitators and teachers to complete the BSLA microcredentials.

  • For Frequently Asked Questions about microcredentials, click here.
  • For details on the activities and time requirements for Teachers during the microcredential training, click here.

MINISTRY FUNDED PLACES

Funding covers:

  • Microcredential fee (valued at $750)
  • 2 x days of teacher release
  • Resource kete
  • Access to all online resources, lesson plans, game activities, assessments, data analysis and reporting
  • Coaching and mentoring from a BSLA Facilitator

PRIVATELY FUNDED PLACES

Cost:

  • $750 (includes microcredential fee, resource kete, online resources, lesson plans, game activities, assessments and data analysis and reporting - excluding oral language assessment fee)
  • $25 per assessment per child for oral language transcription, analysis and reporting (3 x assessment points across 1 year recommended for children identified as having oral language difficulties at school entry; 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 (includes microcredential fee, access to all BSLA online resources, lesson plans game activities and assessments.

Undertaking this microcredential is not part of the Ministry of Education professional learning package, but would provide excellent support to the class teachers implementing the BSLA, and is an outstanding professional learning opportunity for teacher aides.

COURSE AVAILABLE FROM SEMESTER TWO, 2021.

More information