Structured Literacy

Structured Literacy and the science of reading at Westshore School

Structured literacy is based on 50 years of scientific research aimed at better understanding why some children are able to read and write easily while others find it more challenging. The basis of the Structured Literacy Programme is to develop children’s phonological awareness. They learn how to decode individual letter sounds and then put them together to read/write whole words. This is called segmenting and blending. This leads to an understanding of how each letter is correctly sounded and then recorded, which in turn supports ongoing spelling acquisition, writing fluency and confidence.

At Westshore School we follow a Structured literacy approach for our teaching of the English Curriculum. Structured Literacy focuses on 'phonemic awareness and alphabet knowledge' - alongside other key components -giving children the skills they need to read, spell and write with confidence.  These components include both foundational skills (e.g., decoding, spelling, handwriting and letter formation) and higher-level literacy skills (e.g., reading comprehension, written expression). We have invested in the Little Learners Love Literacy (LLLL) decodable texts, the Heggerty Phonological Awareness Programme for our junior school.

As a school, we have put considerable resources into purchasing books to support our whole-school Structured Literacy. For some of our students this means traditional readers are not sent home as they might have been in the past. 

If you have any questions about our structured literacy approach, we would love to have a chat.

Westshore team.

Key takeaways from the Science of Reading include the following:

​Reading is not a natural process. Previously, we believed that learning to read was as natural as learning to speak. 

• We now know that all brains learn to read in the same way and that these areas of the brain can be trained and developed. 

• We now know about the skills that good readers implement and the parts of the brain that are involved in the reading process. 

• Likewise, we know what aspects we should assess and teach to students who are not progressing in reading and spelling. 

• A Structured Literacy approach to learning to read and spell is necessary for all and crucial for some. 

• A Structured Literacy approach is the most efficient teaching and learning approach for dyslexic children and those with reading difficulties. 

• The teaching of spelling in a systematic and explicit way enables students to become capable readers and writers.