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New free Early Literacy Clinic • Alphabet Wall Frieze discount • Research challenges decodable readers + more!

Get 10% off Alphabet Wall Frieze (A4 or A5)

Enter the discount code before June 30th and save! CODE: soup

For children learning the alphabet, it can be confusing having both upper and lower-case letters on a wall frieze. No wonder they mix up lower and upper-case letters in their writing. A lower-case only alphabet wall frieze allows children to learn the lower-case letters first and make them ingrained.

Our colourful wall display showcases these lower-case letters with their matching mnemonic pictures. The images are uncluttered with lots of white space. This is helpful for learners struggling with visual discrimination who can find many teaching resources visually overwhelming.

Laminated printed posters.
Choose from either A4 or A5.
WATCH Yolanda introduce the Alphabet Wall Frieze.
Watch Yolanda explain why we should teach the lower case letters first in this Don’t teach the capital letters! video.


TOPIC: EARLY WORDS   |   3:30pm-4pm, 23 June 2022

I’m trialing a free after school online Early Literacy Clinic & you’re invited!
In each clinic, I will talk for a short time on a topic and then we’ll move to a Q&A on anything related to early literacy issues. Questions do not have to relate to the topic and can be about anything to do with early literacy. All are welcome to attend – you don’t have to have a question to come. Come along and please share the invite with other teachers and teacher aides who might want to join.


Book now for our upcoming Early Words, Primary Phonics and our new Early Phonics (Learning the alphabet) live webinar courses. Plus we have in-person courses for Early Words and Primary Phonics in Auckland and Wellington in the July school holidays.

Watch our videos which explain what each course offers to learn more or look here. Remember all courses are available as in-service either in-person or live webinar. View costs and options for in-service.

Long term outcomes for Reading Recovery students

A U.S study found that some students who have Reading Recovery do not maintain their progress long term. This RNZ interview makes a few good points on both sides of the debate about Reading Recovery. My take is that although the lack of explicit systematic phonics instruction in Reading Recovery is a fair criticism, it is also wrong to write it off because some Reading Recovery students will still need extra help with literacy later.

I say to parents at our pre-entry interviews that some children have Reading Recovery and that this is all they need to get underway with literacy. I also tell them that some children may still require ongoing support later on but that it will make a positive difference and be immensely helpful for their child.

Here is my takeaway: Reading is a complex process. There is no magic cure, one programme or approach that is going to quickly and permanently make reading easy for all children. But interventions such as Reading Recovery will definitely make a powerful difference! Listen to the interview.

Teaching resources have taken over my house!

I made a post on social medial to ask am I the only teacher with boxes of resources stashed away at home? Judging by the response to my question, the answer is clearly no.

Teachers reported storing resources under beds, in corners, in the garage, having shelves built for them, packing wardrobes and cupboards and one had turned her walk-in wardrobe to a dedicated teacher resource room! Last weekend I tidied under the stairs. As you can see by the picture, I found yet another great place to store some of my old teaching resources amongst the shoes and coats. I also have boxes stored in my garage. You never know when you might need a resource you haven’t used in years!

Research challenges decodable readers

This research from Newcastle University in Australia analyses the current evidence and research supporting decodable and levelled reading books. The research found that “Levelled reading books are more engaging for students and encourage them to read for enjoyment”, and applying “a mixed methods approach to literacy instruction appears to be a quality approach to achieve excellent results in improving literacy proficiency.”

In conclusion, the report stated that “the balanced approach and those (interventions) using levelled reading books often fared better than those (interventions) with an overt focus on phonics/decodables.” As you may know, I haven’t been convinced by claims made about the singular focus on decodables and phonics to improve literacy outcomes. The real science of reading is showing that these claims are overstated and not substantiated. Read the full report.


On my first O.E., I worked in a veggie café in London and was responsible for making the soups. I quickly learned which soups were popular and how to make a soup out of very little. This became my go-to soup recipe – it is elegant enough for dinner parties, but mostly I make it for weekend lunches with leftovers in a flask for school lunch on Monday.
1) Heat the oil in a large saucepan and slowly cook the onion until soft but not brown.
2) Add the garlic, ginger and carrots and cook for five minutes, occasionally stirring so the bottom of the pan does not burn.
3) Pour in the stock and let simmer until the carrots are soft (around 30 minutes). Add a little more water if need be to avoid drying out.
4) Stir in the coconut milk before blending until smooth.
5) Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of chopped fresh coriander or parsley.


1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
15-20gm fresh ginger, finely chopped
1kg (7-8 med sized) carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
600ml vege stock*
150ml coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

* I use Massells Chicken Stock - it's the best available plus it's vegan and gluten free!

Makes 1.5 litres

N.B. for a richer soup, either: add more coconut milk and decrease the water by the same amount and/or use coconut cream instead of coconut milk.
Copyright © 2022 Yolanda Soryl Literacy, All rights reserved.
Yolanda Soryl Literacy
16 Sheppard Place
Christchurch, 8014
New Zealand

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