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Nathan the reader

Reflection - what these stories exemplify

exemplar wheel

Key competencies

These stories show Nathan participating and contributing in classroom learning. They also demonstrate Nathan meeting new challenges in his learning (thinking).

Nathan demonstrates his ability to use language, symbols, and texts in all the learning stories. He shows that he expects text to make sense, that sounds combine to form words, and that sounds are represented by letters.

How might these stories strengthen Nathan’s identity as a learner?

The string of stories show Nathan’s growing confidence in his ability to select and read a range of emergent texts, using semantic, syntactic, visual, and graphophonic cues, and his growing interest in being involved in literacy activities (agency).

The stories span several months during which time Nathan moves from repeating a few words from a story to reading an emergent reader to a buddy spontaneously and independently (continuity and depth). This learning occurs at home and at school in various forms – at instructional reading and one-on-one (breadth).

For more information on the four dimensions of agency, breadth, continuity, and depth (ABCDs), refer to Narrative assessment: a guide for teachers.

Learning areas

Level 1 English

This learning is in the strands of Listening, Reading, and Viewing and Speaking, Writing, and Presenting. Nathan is developing his ability to respond to meanings and ideas in texts. He is exploring language when reading. Nathan knows that text conveys messages and has an understanding of the connections between oral, written, and visual language.

Effective pedagogy

What does this tell us about teaching and learning in this setting?

Nathan’s teacher has clear expectations for him. She works to create an accepting environment where routines, plus visual and verbal prompts, are used. There are plenty of supportive opportunities for Nathan to transfer new learning in a variety of contexts. His family takes an active interest in his learning at school and supports his achievements at home. The activities described in the learning stories show learning experiences that are introduced in steps, building on what Nathan already knows (making connections to prior learning and experience).

Reflective questions for the reader

“In what other ways might you extend your students’ learning in a variety of contexts?”

“How can you encourage others to interact with learners with special education needs?”

“How can you continue to use what students know to enhance their further learning?”

Useful resources

Butterfield, N., Arthur, M., & Sigafoos, J. (c1995). Partners in everyday communicative exchanges: a guide to promoting interaction involving people with severe intellectual disability. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Pub. Co.

Downing, J. E. (c1996). Including students with severe and multiple disabilities in typical classrooms: practical strategies for teachers. Baltimore: P.H. Brookes Pub.

McCormick, L., Loeb, D. F., & Schieflbusch, R. L. (c2003). Supporting children with communication difficulties in inclusive settings: school-based language intervention. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Ministry of Education. (2003). Effective literacy practice in years 1 to 4. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2007). Literacy learning progressions: meeting the reading and writing demands of the curriculum: a professional tool for teachers: draft for consultation. Wellington: Learning Media.


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