What is Literacy about?

Literacy is about learning to use, create and enjoy the English language in all its forms – oral, written and visual communication. Reading in the younger years is about learning the mechanics of reading whereas as they get older, it's about reading to learn. The skills for reading, spelling and writing are all inter-connected.

What does literacy look like at Ahutoetoe?

At Ahutoetoe, we believe that ALL ākonga are capable of learning to read, write and spell. Our literacy lessons are built on the foundations of the Science of Reading through a Structured Literacy approach.  All ākonga from Year 1 to Year 6 receive explicit, systematic and sequential  instruction in reading, writing and spelling. They are given time to practice the skills they have been taught and opportunities to apply their knowledge. We believe that learning needs to be both relevant and meaningful to every learner.

Our program is built on the Science of Reading research, specially the Five Pillars of Reading, the Simple View of Reading and Scarborough’s Reading Rope.

Five Pillars of Reading: outlines the five critical components of reading which need to be taught for learners to develop strong reading skills.

(Five Pillars of Reading)

The Simple view of Reading: demonstrates the two basic components of learning to read are Word recognition and Language comprehension- we need both in order to develop Reading comprehension.


Scarborough’s Reading Rope- is an extension of the Simple view of reading, providing more detail about what is included in word recognition and language comprehension.

Cognitive Load

"Cognitive load" relates to the amount of information that the working memory can hold at one time. We know from research that the brain can only process a small amount of new information at a time. This means that new information needs to be scaffolded, applied and reviewed (a number of times) for it to transfer into our long term memory.

In the Classroom

When we are introducing a new skill at the start of a lesson we always start with review- we are reviewing not just the last skill we taught but the last couple of skills, to ensure that these skills/knowledge are transferred into long-term memory. 

Review involves both decoding (reading) and encoding (writing)

When we explicitly teach a new skill, we only teach one new skill at a time. Explanations are short and concise. 

Examples are given and as a class we work through the examples orally, decoding words that demonstrate the skill being taught. We use the philosophy of I do, we do, you do. The teacher will model, the class or group will practice and then there is opportunity for individual application. When we learn a new skill we decode (read) and then encode (write) the same set of words.

Dictation sentences are used to apply the skills we have been taught and blended review dictations are a review of previous skills taught.

At Ahutoetoe we use the Little Learners (LLLL) Scope and Sequence for teaching reading in Year 1-3 classes with the Code sitting alongside. In the older classes we use The Code Scope and Sequence to teach spelling.

Handwriting: is explicitly taught, we focus on pencil grip, letter formation, accuracy and speed.

Reading in our younger classes

Our youngest learners learn that letters are pictures for sounds. They learn to listen to the sounds that make up words and blend these together to read and sound out words. Phonemic Awareness and Phonics are key aspects of Junior class lessons, with lots of repetition and multisensory activities. Heart words/sight words/high frequency words (words that can not be phonetically sounded out) are taught as part of these daily literacy lessons. Big books/picture books are read to and with akonga and these are unpacked over the course of week.

Our more senior readers

Our older students still receive explicit literacy instruction based on The Code, this includes morphology, prefixes, suffixes to name a few. In these year levels readers are fluent readers who are able to apply their reading in a range of contexts. A greater focus is on comprehension and vocabulary.  

Literacy lessons across the school take place as both whole class and in small groups.


In year 1 classes we use the Phonemic Awareness Assessment near the end of a learners first term at school. This is both formative and summative as it gives us a picture of what skills students have learnt and what areas need further teaching and practice.

In the junior class we use the Little Learners Assessment of Reading Skills (LLARS) to track progress and determine next steps.

The Code word check assessment is used to determine what spelling concepts students have embedded and what skills still need to be taught.

How to support your child in early literacy

-Play i spy with letter sounds rather than letter names

-Visit the public library

-Read stories to your child to develop a love of books. You can also discuss characters, vocab or get children to retell the story in their own words.

-Listen to your child read the readers sent home (if tired do a page each or only read half the book)

-Point out and read signs and labels

-Make/write birthday cards for family members

-Play card or board games as a family

-Listen to audiobooks in the car- these can be downloaded from the public library

-Cook together following a recipe

-Read rhyming books or play games coming up with a word that rhymes with a particular word, for example what rhymes with cat? fat and sat

-Introduce unusual or more descriptive words into your everyday language 

-At dinner time take time to talk about your day, share jokes etc

-Practice writing letters out of playdough, chalk or in sand

-Allow your child to write the shopping list

-Write little texts to a loved one

-magnetic letters on the fridge for heart words

-use playdough to make words or water and a paintbrush outside on the deck

Connect ... Nurture ... Inspire

Hono ... Poipoi ... Hiringa

Day Schedule

Gates open: 8.15am

School day: 8.45am – 2.45pm

Learning Session 1: 8.45am - 10.45am

Learning Session 2: 11.15am – 12.35pm

Learning Session 3: 1.20pm – 2.45pm

Ahutoetoe School

89 Maryvale Road





Term 1
Thursday 1 February - Friday 12 April
Waitangi Day – observed 6th Feb 

Good Friday – 29 March
Easter Monday – 1st April

Easter Tuesday - 2nd April

Term 2
Monday 29 April - Friday 5 July

Anzac Day – 25th April

Teacher Only Day - 31st May
Kings Birthday – 3rd June

Matariki  – 28th June

Term 3
Monday 22 July - Friday 27 September

Term 4
Monday 14 October - Tuesday 17 December

Teacher Only Day - 25th October
Labour Day – 28th October



Phone: 09 242 8100