We use the Better Start Literacy Approach in our Year 0 - 2 area.  

The Better Start Literacy Approach is a structured approach to literacy instruction for Year 0 to Year 2 classrooms, to support children's early reading, writing and oral language success. It has been developed by the University of Canterbury specifically for our New Zealand educational and cultural context and controlled research trials have proven its effectiveness. It includes the systematic teaching of critical phonological awareness skills and letter sound knowledge skills through fun, games-based activities, activities making explicit links to the reading and spelling context, and structured small group reading sessions using the new Ready to Read - Phonics Plus early readers series. In addition, the approach includes explicit teaching in vocabulary skills and in building children's oral narrative and listening comprehension skills through quality children's story books. The Better Start Literacy Approach follows a structured phonics scope and sequence that is used in the class and small group reading teaching.  You can read more about it here

Find lots of ideas for helping your taitamaiti with reading and writing on the Ministry of Education website.

Learning to Read


When your tamariki first starts school they will learn the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that each letter makes. As time goes on they will learn the sounds that pairs and groups of letters make. At Ridgway we use the Yolanda Soryl Phonics Programme which introduces the various sounds and letter combinations in a structured way. After 2 years at school your tamariki will probably know how to spell a range of high frequency words and will be able to make phonetically correct approximations of other words they want to use in their stories.

From Year 2, your tamariki is likely to be given spelling words to learn. These may be taken from lists of high frequency words or from your tamariki personal vocabulary (i.e. words that your tamariki uses when speaking or writing). You can help your tamariki be successful in writing by helping them to learn their spelling words each week. The Essential Spelling Lists are made up of the most frequently used words in the English language and it's important that all tamariki master the spelling of these words.


Learning to correctly form all the letters of the alphabet is one of the foundation skills that tamariki learn in their first few years at school. Ask your tamariki teacher for an example of how they teach tamariki to make each letter so that you can support your tamariki to develop good handwriting skills.

Students from Year 4 - Year 8 often use Google Docs to complete their written work. They will still practice writing by hand, but will also learn some touch typing skills.

Tawatawa - Ridgway Library

Students can borrow books from our school library and take home browsing box books in the early years. 

WCC library link

If you have a library card they can issue books online too. Check out the Wellington City Library site

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