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), need to acquire early reading, spelling and writing skills.  This is new territory for the educators operating within this ‘Foundation’ phase of literacy instruction.

We have many teachers ask the question about reading and spelling tracking in Terms 3 and 4 within 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 ess than 6 years and teachers are frequently asking me what they can use. Our suggestion is:

Typically in Semester 2 ‘Foundation’, but for some schools this can be Term 2, begin utilising:Pre-Literacy & Early Literacy Screens

It is also important to ensure that your sequence of semester two ‘Foundation’ skills are current, so please refer to pages 6 and 7 of the ‘Scheduling PLD’s resources Within a whole school literacy and learning plan’ to confirm this.

If you email us, we have a range of excel spreadsheets that enable the profiling of classes on a term by term basis.  This will enable you to focus specifically on what is required for that Term, and know that students are at the level they should be.

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.