Structured literacy approach

Do you need support implementing structured literacy?

Structured literacy (SL) requires educators to adopt an evidence based approach to their literacy instruction and programme design. Navigating this approach requires maintaining a learner-focused perspective as you apply your learning from professional development to your programme design and day to day practices.

If your kura or school is considering adopting a structured literacy approach into your teaching methods, we invite you to explore our resources and engage with our team in professional development opportunities.  We can support you to develop the understanding and knowledge to implement a quality programme with fidelity across your whole school. 

Enquire today for professional support

What is structured literacy?

Structured literacy is an instructional approach that provides a systematic and clear framework for teaching literacy skills and is built on solid oral language foundations. It is firmly grounded in what we know about how the brain learns to read and write.  The framework has key elements that all teachers and educators need to understand and know how to apply in their settings. These include: 

  • Applying brain science and learning theory to classroom practice and design.  Ensuring programmes maximise learning time and opportunities to learn, as well as being explicit and intentional.
  • Understanding how language is developed and learned.
  • Structured literacy places a strong emphasis on phonological awareness (the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken language); phonics (the relationships between sounds and letters, or groups of letters); and phonemic awareness (the ability to hear and work with the smallest units of spoken language).
  • Scope and Sequence: Knowing what to teach and when to teach it.  Designing and implementing quality classroom and whole school programmes.  
  • Adaptability: Knowledgeable and skilled kaiako are able to refine and adapt their practice to meet individual and group needs. SL is not a rigid, one size fits all approach.
  • Equitable approach: Structured literacy focuses on the unique learning needs of each ākonga, ensuring an equitable approach to literacy in the classroom.

Tātai Aho Rau literacy development approach 

Journey with our team to incorporate a structured literacy approach in your classroom or team. This graphic illustrates the adaptive professional facilitation approach utilised by Tātai Aho Rau facilitators. Pedagogy is built alongside content knowledge through rapid cycles of teacher inquiry.

Read about how this approach has been particularly successful at Winton School, here.



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Structured Literacy - where do I start?

“Being conscious, observant and knowledgeable about language acquisition, phonological and phonemic awareness, and the importance of handwriting to reduce cognitive load for our are key understandings for all teachers of literacy.”

Read Tātai Aho Rau Facilitator, Jo Barr’s blog on starting out with structured literacy

Structured Literacy - where do I start?
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Alignment with Te Mātaiaho and the Common Practice Model


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Structured literacy with Tātai Aho Rau 

Our team of professional facilitators are dedicated to providing professional development tailored to the unique needs of your school that aligns with our research informed approach. From bespoke facilitation, to workshops and ongoing support, we will make sure you and your team of educators have the tools required for successful and equitable implementation of the structured literacy approach.


Enquire today for professional support