Ngaio School

Our Place to Learn

Literacy Support


Summary of literacy programmes

There is a range of literacy intervention programmes available for students at Ngaio School.  We have two literacy teacher aides that work alongside the children either individually or in small groups.  Children work in a well-resourced withdrawal room although sometimes they work within the classroom setting.  Programmes include “5 minute box” – a phonics programme, Early Words – a reading programme, programmes for developing fine motor skills and handwriting formation and speech development and oral language programmes.   The teacher aides work closely with the classroom teacher and the lead teacher of literacy to ensure the programme best meets the needs of the learner.

Children are identified through a variety of methods including data gathering at entry, after ten weeks of schooling, at 5 ½ and again at 6 years of age.  Teacher observations within the classroom and parental concerns all help to give a picture as to whether the children would benefit from an intervention programme.  The length of time a child receives extra support depends on the programme or programmes they are on and their rate of progress.  Parents are welcome to make an appointment to observe these programmes in action.


Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery is a Ministry of Education funded intervention programme.  The Ministry of Education allocates Reading Recovery hours to schools based on norm referenced achievement data linked to the National Standards. 

Students at Ngaio School are selected for the Reading Recovery programme on the basis of teacher recommendation and the results of the norm referenced literacy test called the Observation Survey, which is conducted after students have received one year of school instruction. Whilst Ngaio School offers multiple literacy intervention strategies there are a few children who, after various interventions and support during their first year at school, still require extra assistance in reading and writing.  It is those students who are considered for Reading Recovery. At Ngaio there are two trained Reading Recovery teachers who work part time with children every day. In addition the Reading Recovery teachers provide both ongoing support to students when they finish Reading Recovery as well as to their teachers.

Literacy Interventions

Brief Overview of Intervention Programmes

Five Minute Box Programme

  • This programme supports the reading and writing development.
  • It uses concrete materials that are manipulated e.g. magnetic letters and whiteboard.
  • This is a success-based programme – i.e.; if the student doesn’t know the answer they are told it.
  • The programme is designed to be done 1:1 and every day if possible.  It does not take 5 minutes as the name suggests (20-25 minutes)
  • It is designed to teach letter sounds not the letter names
  • We are aiming for the pupil to have instant recall (within a few seconds)
  • As the children progress from letter sounds they move onto quick recall of basic sight words

Early Words

  •  Combines teaching for accuracy and fluency of high frequency words.  It is not enough that children can read words; they must be able to read them easily and effortlessly.
  • Early words, builds fluency into the teaching of each word so that, as children learn the new words, they also learn how to read them quickly as well as correctly.
  • Children learn the words at both word and sentence level.
  • It is vital that early readers use phonics to help sound out unknown words and read words they have not met before.  Some words do not lend themselves to being sounded out e.g. the, saw, was.  It is helpful for children to know these by sight and to memorise the visual patterns for these words.
  • This programme is 20 minutes long (3-4 times a week) and supports the reading and writing development of children.

Writing Vocabulary

  • Children work in a small group with others of similar writing ability three or four times a week for 20 minutes
  • The focus is on word families e.g. if you can write ‘at’, then you can write cat, fat, sat, mat, that, rat etc.
  •  It also focuses on word endings e.g. play, plays, played, playing
  • The aim is to build up the child’s writing vocabulary.
  • In New Zealand the average 5 and a half year old can write 24 words in 10 minutes and the average 6 year old can write 43 words in 10 minutes, this programme supports students to achieve this.