Frequently asked questions

Below are answers to common questions about Yolanda Soryl Literacy. There are also specific FAQ pages for our  Early Words, Primary Phonics and Reading Discovery Club programmes. If you cannot find an answer to your query, please send us an email or complete our contact form.

Our courses and programmes

Do your courses and programmes follow the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy?

Structured literacy is an approach to teaching reading based on the Science of Reading and years of research into how a child learns to read. Our courses are based on this research and show how to explicitly and systematically teach phonological awareness, word recognition, phonics and decoding skills in a structured way following a scope and sequence for learning and embedding it in a meaningful literacy programme.

How do I know your literacy training programmes work?

There has been strong evidence that teaching systematic, explicit phonics positively impacts literacy outcomes. Yolanda has trained over 25,000 teachers and teacher aides in early literacy programmes such as Phonics and Early Words. Feedback has overwhelmingly been positive on her methods’ impact on children’s learning. Click to read some of the testimonials received about our Early Words, Phonics, and Buzz courses and webinars.

Is there a difference between Yolanda Soryl courses and other providers of phonics training in New Zealand?

Our phonics training courses are based on research and build on what is already taught in the class literacy programme by adding explicit and systematic phonics teaching, the missing part of the puzzle for many teachers. We do not advocate replacing the class literacy programme and throwing books away to replace it with a phonics first/decodable readers only approach because there is not enough evidence to support doing so.

Is there any way I can see your programmes in action before/in addition to completing your Phonics and Early Words courses?

Yes, you can watch our programmes in action in the classroom on the Yolanda Soryl YouTube channel. Click here to view.

Are your courses focused on theory or practical?

Our courses are full of practical activities you can do with your students the next day. Although our focus is on the practical side, theory and the research behind our methods are discussed in the course and manuals.

Will your courses help me teach my students with Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia?

Evidence shows that the systematic and explicit teaching of phonics is beneficial for students with SLDs (Specific Learning Disability) such as dyslexia. Class programmes that include the teaching of phonics, plus extra support with intervention programmes for children with dyslexia (such as our BUZZ programme), do make a difference. Yolanda’s children have dyslexia, so she knows first-hand the challenges faced in learning.

What is the difference between Phonics, Developing Phonological Awareness and Early Words courses?

The Primary Phonics course covers the seven stages of phonics and is aimed at the teachers of primary aged children. It places phonics within a framework of literacy teaching and contains valuable information and practical tips for teaching at the beginners level. The Developing Phonological Awareness course covers the first of the seven stages in more detail and includes extra activities. It is suitable for teachers and carers of the Under 5’s or those working with older children with poor phonological awareness. The Early Words course focuses on teaching the first high-frequency words with accuracy and fluency. You can find out more about the courses here.

Do I have to be a teacher or teacher aide to attend literacy training courses?

Our courses have been developed for teaching in the classroom, but anyone involved with helping children read is welcome to attend.

Can I gain a qualification in early literacy and phonics in NZ?

Our courses are not currently NZQA-approved qualifications, but many schools have paid for staff to attend as part of their professional development. Some Universities and SPELD offer NZQA-approved courses in similar subjects.

Can training take place in my school?

Yes, we can arrange for Yolanda to come to your school for training. Please contact us directly for further information on costs and availability. Click here to view the options available.

Do you offer decodable readers?

Decodable readers are texts for beginning readers where the majority of the text has a phonically regular match between letters and sounds. Our guided reading books follow this principle but are not strictly decodable readers because they include additional learning strategies.

How long does it take for a child to improve their reading skills?

Research has shown that the more you read, the more your reading skills improve. But some children will take longer than others and depends on many factors, including:

  • life experiences before starting school
  • existing phonological (how letters sound) awareness, visual discrimination skills, oral language, and vocabulary
  • the impact of any learning differences such as dyslexia
  • the skills and knowledge of the teacher
  • the time the child spends reading
Can I teach my child to read at home?

Yes, absolutely – we have courses and programmes to help make it easier for you both. Reading and singing to your child from birth helps them develop phonological awareness (how letters sound), vocabulary and a shared oral language. Once they have these foundational skills, we suggest you teach phonics and use Early Words and our Early Words Readers to consolidate the early reading skills you are teaching them.

Learning to read is not so much about beginning at a certain age, but the readiness of the child to learn. Some children are ready to read at age four, whilst others are not ready until five, six and later.

Can I get a course certificate for doing a course?

We can send you a digital certificate to you by email on request. Please let us know if you would like us to arrange this.

What is the difference between your webinar and in-person courses?

Both cover the same content but the webinar courses are longer. They have opportunities for trying out the activities and discussion that there isn’t time for on the shorter in-person courses. Click here to view a sample webinar.

Ordering from us

Are your courses available for PLD funding?

Yes, many of our courses are. Select ‘Is this booking subject to PLD funding?’ on the Order Information page when enrolling.  Please allow extra time for PLD funding processing as that is not within our control.

Do you have AfterPay, Zip or Laybuy options?

We don’t offer these methods of payment sorry.

How long will it take to receive my order?

Orders are usually received within two or three business days, depending on what time of the day you order and where you live.

If we receive it by 1 pm on a weekday, your order will be picked up by the courier that afternoon. Our distribution centre is in Christchurch, and therefore delivery times are dependent on the distance/courier availability to where you live.

Please note that school deliveries are placed on hold during holidays when your school office is unattended. Please provide an alternative address for items required during school holidays. Sometimes orders are delayed because the product is temporarily out of stock. We will let you know in this case when your order has been sent.

What happens if I cannot attend a literacy course once a booking has been made?

Please get in touch with us as soon as possible to arrange a refund/transfer. Non-attendance at courses without notice may not be refunded.

I don’t seem to have received an invoice yet?

Invoices are automatically generated when an order is placed on our website. Please check that you have entered the email address correctly and check your spam folder/school policy for accepted email. Please email [email protected] for a copy of your invoice if lost. Please note that invoices are not automatically sent to the school’s accounts department unless entered in the billing address at the time of order.

Is there a discount for attending more than one literacy course?

Yes, we offer discounts for group bookings. Please click here to view our latest offers.

Can I order for my school and pay by invoice?

Yes, you can receive your order now and pay within one month when ordering on behalf of a school. Please ensure the school’s accounts email is entered into the billing section when you place an order. Schools often already have a website account with us, so please check with the school office before creating a new account.