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Tracking Early Reading & Spelling Progress From 5 Years

With the changes in the National Curriculum, Foundation students (that is, Kindergarten NSW/ACT, Preparatory QLD/VIC/TAS, Pre-Primary WA, Reception SA and Transition NT), are required to acquire early reading and spelling and writing skills. This is new territory for educators working in the ‘Foundation’ years of literacy instruction. We have many teachers ask questions about early reading and spelling tracking in Terms 3 and 4 as part of this phase.

The PLD approach for Term 1 focuses upon pre-literacy skills that establish the prerequisite skills for this transition into early literacy. Within some schools the instruction of pre-literacy skills occurs across semester one (as opposed to purely Term 1).

From semester two, students should be starting to read, spell and write. Within the PLD seminars, we explore the idea that typically, children read first, spell second and write third. This is because two primary skills facilitate early decoding, three primary skills facilitate early spelling and seven to ten facilitate early writing.

Once children are starting to establish word attack skills and are demonstrating the ability to decode/’sound-out’ simple words and spell simple words, what do schools use to track progress? Standardised tests typically render these students with a reading age and spelling age of less than 6 years and teachers are frequently asking me what they can use. Our suggestion is:

Begin utilising the Junior Primary Reading & Spelling Profiles located within “Pre-Literacy & Early Literacy Screens’ in Semester 2 of the Foundation year.

It is also important to ensure that your sequence of semester two ‘Foundation’ skills are current, so please refer to pages 9-14 of the ‘Scheduling PLD’s resources Within a whole school literacy and learning plan’ to confirm this.

Our regular seminars also allow you to focus on the specific year level and understand this profiling and how you can ensure your students are tracking in the right direction. Visit the seminars section on our website for upcoming dates.

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