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.

Funding

Ministry of Education funding is available for facilitators and teachers to complete the BSLA microcredentials. Applications for funding through the Ministry of Education for Cohort 3 (starting early 2022) are now open and they close on Thursday 28th October 2021. Schools will be informed of the outcome on 12th November, with the course starting at the beginning of Term 1, 2022.  For more information on funding, see the Ministry of Education website.

 

Micro-credential Options

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 partner 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.

 

Activities and time requirements for Facilitators

For details on the activities and time requirements for Facilitators during the microcredential training, click here.

 

Ministry of Education Funded Places

Funding covers:

  • Microcredential fee ($2500)

  • Reasonable travel and accommodation costs to Christchurch or Auckland for 2-day workshop (Cohort 3 workshops will be held in late January 2022 (dates tbc).

  • Resource kete

  • Access to all online resources, lesson plans, game activities, assessments, data analysis and reporting. The oral language assessment will have a cap of 15 students per teacher, as per MoE funding. Additional students can be included at a fee of $25 per student, per assessment point, with 2-3 assessment points recommended per year, to effectively monitor children’s language growth. This fee may be reduced in future.

Applications for funding in Cohort 3 are now open.  Apply on the Ministry of Education's PLD website.  Applications close 28th October 2021 and schools will be informed of the outcome on 12th November 2021.  

 

Privately Funded Places (limited to 10 each cohort)

Cost:

  • $2500 (includes microcredential fee, resource kete, access to online resources, lesson plans, game activities, assessments, data analysis and reporting). Please note this fee does not cover the oral language assessment, which has a cost of $25 per student, per assessment point, with 2-3 assessment points recommended per year, to effectively monitor children’s language growth. This fee may be reduced in future.

 

  • 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.

 

Activities and time requirements for Teachers

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. The oral language assessment will have a cap of 15 students per teacher, as per MoE funding. Additional students can be included at a fee of $25 per student, per assessment point, with 2-3 assessment points recommended per year, to effectively monitor children’s language growth. This fee may be reduced in future.
  • Coaching and mentoring from a BSLA Facilitator

Applications for funding in Cohort 3 are now open.  Apply on the Ministry of Education's PLD website.  Applications close 28th October 2021 and schools will be informed of the outcome on 12th November 2021.  

 

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 (2-3 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.

Teacher Aides must be partnered with a teacher (or teachers) who is currently or has previously completed the BSLA Teacher microcredential, and this must be declared at the time of enrolment.

Cost

Cost is $250 per person (includes microcredential fee, access to all BSLA online resources, lesson plans game activities and assessments). Please note this fee does not cover the cost of a resource kete or oral language transcription and analysis for additional students beyond those allocated to the funded teacher/s the Teacher Aide is partnered with.

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

Course Dates

Course dates for Cohort 3 - 31 January 2022 - 20 December 2022

Please note this end date is the latest date for the course to be completed; some TAs will be able to complete course requirements before this date as this is dependent on the classroom teacher they are working with.

Enrolments

Enrolments for the teacher aide micro-credential will open in late November 2021.

 

How to enrol in a BSLA micro-credential

The following is a summary of how to enrol.  For more detailed information on the funding process visit the Ministry of Education's website and download the BSLA Micro-credentials Application Guide (PDF, 3251KB, 2 pages) for how to enrol at the University of Canterbury.

 

For a Ministry of Education Funded place:

Applications for funded places in Cohort 3, start of 2022 are now open and they close on the 28th October 2021.    
  1. Submit your application with the Ministry through their PLD website.  More detail about eligibility criteria and their application process is also available on this website and you can email them at Foundational.Learning@education.govt.nz
  2. The Ministry of Education will annouce the outcome of applications for Cohort 3 on 12th November 2021.
  3. Successful Facilitators and teachers will then individually be emailed by the University of Canterbury (to the address put on their MoE application) on the 15th November inviting them to enrol at the University in the micro-credential course.
  4. Submit your UC application to enrol through myUC and send in the required documentation.  See the detailed guide of how to enrol at UC.  
  5. Activate your UC IT account and access the online LEARN site.  You are now fully enrolled.

 

For a Self-Funded place:

  1. Applications to enrol will open late November 2021 for Cohort 3.  Submit your UC application to enrol through myUC and send in the required documentation.
  2. Accept your Enrolment Agreement in myUC.
  3. Arrange payment of the course fees.
  4. Activate your UC IT account and access the online LEARN site.  You are now fully enrolled.

 

  

More information