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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.

Instructional Series

Welcome to the English medium literacy instructional series teaching and learning resources for years 1 to 8.

Example resources
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  • English
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Technology
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  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Nature of science
  • Living world
  • Statistics
  • Engage with science
  • Use evidence
  • Stories
  • Articles
  • Poems
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16 items - Showing 1 - 10

  • The river cover.

    The River

    L3 cover image april2013.

    by Paul Mason

    Leo has travelled from New Zealand to visit his father, who has a houseboat in England. Leo and his dad touch briefly on memories of earlier visits to England, when the family was still together and living in New Zealand. The river has changed since the earlier visit, polluted by a factory upstream. Leo’s desire to see the selkie he saw previously causes him to fall into the dirty river. Leo finds that to save himself, he has to “stop fighting the river”, and students may hypothesise that this realisation could help him deal with the changes in his life.

    Series: School Journal Level 3, April 2013

    Learning area: English, Social Sciences

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: changes, houseboat, river

    In: School Journal Level 3, April 2013

    Publication date: April 2013

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  • Book cover.

    By the River

    SJL4 Nov2016 cover image

    by Sarah Penwarden

    "School camp. Kenzie’s seen the photos from last year. It looks nice: little cabins clustered around a central dining hall; grassy paddocks with giant macrocarpas; picnic tables and a fire pit; a green river, deep and shady, with a slide and a swimming hole."

    Series: School Journal Level 4 November 2016

    Learning area: English, Health and Physical Education

    Curriculum level: 4

    Reading year level: 7

    Category: Fiction

    Topics: anxiety, camp, challenge, change, confidence, courage, fear, friendship, relationships, school, self-esteem

    In: School Journal Level 4 November 2016

    Publication date: November 2016

    Order this text

  • Talking to the river cover

    Talking to the River

    by Clare Knighton

    “Talking to the River” tells the story of a farmer and a group of engineering and computing students from Victoria University of Wellington who collaborate to gather data about river pollution and publicise it. River pollution is a topical issue, and “Talking to the River” provides an example of people dedicated to making a difference. The article explains the impact cows can have on rivers and the importance of being able to accurately measure levels of river pollution. The university students overcome several challenges to create a prototype monitoring device that is fit for purpose. The reach of the project is extended exponentially by creating an app that tracks river improvements and allows users to upload photos to a website.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, Science, Technology

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Non-fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: algae, algal blooms, citizen science, collaboration, data, endangered species, environment, farming, fish, Grant Muir, monitoring, Pahaoa River, pollution, problem solving, prototypes, rivers, RiverWatch, technology, Victoria University, water quality, waterways

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

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  • River swimming cover

    River Swimming

    by Lynley Edmeades

    illustrated by Ned Barraud

    “River Swimming” is a beautiful poem that captures the imaginative, make-believe world that children inhabit. The setting is a day out at the river. While the adults sit and drink tea on the river bank, the children race each other in an imaginary lane pool and become mermaids, remembering to keep a safe distance from the taniwha upstream. The poem is rich in imagery and movement. It draws on the pleasures of picnics, swimming, and the beauty of the natural world. The poem would be useful for a poetry reading.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: childhood, family, figurative language, imagery, imagination, make-believe, memories, metaphor, outings, picnics, poetry, rivers, swimming, verse

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

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  • Testing the waters cover image.

    Testing the Waters

    Two scientists on ice.

    by Bronwen Wall

    How clean is the water in your river? Scientists are testing the health of the Maitai River. Find out what data they collect and what can be done to make our rivers cleaner and healthier for everyone.

    Series: Connected 2017 Level 3 - Mahi Tahi

    Learning area: English, Mathematics and Statistics, Science

    Curriculum level: 3

    Category: Non-fiction

    Strand: Statistics, Nature of science, Living world

    Capability: Engage with science

    In: Connected 2017 Level 3 - Mahi Tahi

    Publication date: November 2017

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  • Remarkable reti cover.

    The Remarkable Reti

    SJ L3 cover image Oct 2015

    by Kiwa Hammond and Duane Culshaw

    A reti is a fishing device, used by Ngāti Pāhauwera to catch kahawai on the Mōhaka River. The iwi regard the reti as a taonga, and the article provides a great example of how traditions, along with stories and waiata, are handed down through the generations.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 October 2015

    Learning area: English, Social Sciences

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 5

    Category: Non-fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: fishing, kontiki, Mōhaka River, Ngāti Pāhauwera, reti, reti board, tikanga, waiata

    In: School Journal Level 3 October 2015

    Publication date: October 2015

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  • Kopuwai and the clever girl cover image.

    Kōpūwai and the Clever Girl

    School journal level 3 May 2017 cover image.

    retold by Brian Potiki

    illustrated by Scott Pearson

    This story is from Rapuwai, an ancestral iwi of Ngāi Tahu. It is set on the banks of the Mata-Au/Clutha River, in Otago, and comes from a time long ago when moa roamed the land and giant tuna swam in the rivers.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 May 2017

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 5

    Category: Fiction

    Topics: challenge, cleverness, Clutha River, Kōpūwai, legends, Māori traditional stories, Mata-Au, monsters, myths, Ngāi Tahu, Otago, Rapuwai, trickery

    In: School Journal Level 3 May 2017

    Publication date: May 2017

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  • Underground explorers

    Underground Explorers

    article by Stephanie Chamberlin

    photographs by Neil Silverwood

    SJ L4 cover image May 2015.

    “To most of us, the caving trips of Marcus Thomas sound like crazy endurance tests.”

    Series: School Journal Level 4 May 2015

    Learning area: English, Social Sciences

    Curriculum level: 4

    Reading year level: 8

    Category: Non-fiction

    Topics: alpine caving, Bulmer Cavern, caving, conservation, environment, explorers, geology, Kahurangi National Park, limestone, Mount Owen, personal challenge, underground rivers, waterways

    In: School Journal Level 4 May 2015

    Publication date: May 2015

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  • Monkey and Crocodile.

    Monkey and Crocodile

    A tale from India

    retold and illustrated by Vasanti Unka

    Monkey lives a happy life in a tree high above a river. Crocodile swims in the river and eats fish all day, but what he really wants to do is eat Monkey. When Monkey needs help to cross the river, Crocodile thinks his chance has come… 

    Series: Ready to Read

    Learning area: English

    Colour wheel level: Turquoise

    Curriculum level: 1

    Category: Fiction

    Related titles: See TSM

    Publication date: November 2019

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  • Rocks and sea

    School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    PDFs of all the texts in this issue of the School Journal are available online as well as teacher support materials (TSM) for the following:

        TSM
    Stories The Force  
    Plenty of Room  
    Ship's Captain
    Poems River Swimming
    Articles Balancing Act  
    Sharks  
    Talking to the River

    Series: School Journal

    Publication date: June 2018

    Order this text

    Look inside this issue

    Balancing act cover

    Balancing Act

    by Tricia Glensor

    For the past four years, Stavros Kyriakides has created sculptures along Wellington’s wild and windy south coast. His artworks are distinctive. They use only natural materials – and there’s no glue, nails, wire, or concrete holding them together. Instead, Stavros relies on the laws of physics.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, The Arts, Science

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 5

    Category: Non-fiction

    Topics: art, artworks, balance, centre of gravity, coast, creativity, debate, different opinions, forces, found objects, gravity, laws of physics, physics, sculptor, sculpture, self-expression, Stavros Kyriakides, Wellington

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

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    The force cover

    The Force

    by Renata Hopkins

    illustrated by Matt Haworth

    Egged on by his brother, Harper works through his fears of jumping off the bridge into the water. "Do or do not. There is no try."

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, Health and Physical Education

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Fiction

    Topics: bullying, courage, family, fantasy, fear, fiction, holidays, imagination, independence, managing self, relating to others, rites of passage, rivers, self-belief, siblings, Star Wars, swimming, Yoda

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

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    Plenty of room cover

    Plenty of Room

    by Sarah Johnson

    illustrated by Dylan Horrocks

    The story of a girl adjusting to life with a new sibling. "Sometimes I just want to be alone. Know what I mean? It’s good. Gives you a chance to think. I don’t like hanging out with other people all the time. I need space. So you can imagine how I feel when Dad tells me Sharon’s having a baby."  

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, Health and Physical Education

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 5

    Category: Fiction

    Topics: babies, blended families, change, extended family, family, housing, humour, managing self, new baby, overcrowding, relating to others, relationships, siblings, whānau

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

    Order this text

    River swimming cover

    River Swimming

    by Lynley Edmeades

    illustrated by Ned Barraud

    “River Swimming” is a beautiful poem that captures the imaginative, make-believe world that children inhabit. The setting is a day out at the river. While the adults sit and drink tea on the river bank, the children race each other in an imaginary lane pool and become mermaids, remembering to keep a safe distance from the taniwha upstream. The poem is rich in imagery and movement. It draws on the pleasures of picnics, swimming, and the beauty of the natural world. The poem would be useful for a poetry reading.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: childhood, family, figurative language, imagery, imagination, make-believe, memories, metaphor, outings, picnics, poetry, rivers, swimming, verse

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

    Order this text

    Sharks cover

    Sharks

    by Alison Ballance

    illustrated by Gavin Mouldey

    This article provides information on sharks, focusing particularly on sharks found in New Zealand waters such as great white, rig, and deep-sea sharks.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, Science

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 5

    Category: Non-fiction

    Topics: adaptation, by-catch, camouflage, chimaeras, conservation, eagle rays, endangered species, fish, great whites, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), predators, rays, rigs, sharks, skates, stingrays

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

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    Ship's captain cover

    Ship's Captain

    by Fraser Smith

    illustrated by Daron Parton

    "Ship's Captain" is the story of two boys learning how to live off the land and sea. Nan is a larger-than-life character, steeped in knowledge of bush lore and rongoā (Māori medicine). Pop is a gentle background force, who teaches the boys how to build a whare raupō. The lessons the writer learns go beyond bush lore; the story explores the value of knowledge that is passed down through generations, the pleasures of living simply, and the importance of being "the captain of your own ship".

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, Social Sciences

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: bushcra, camping, childhood, culture, family, grandparents, holidays, identity, kaimoana, knowledge, life skills, Māori, managing self, memoir, memories, rongoā, whānau

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

    Order this text

    Talking to the river cover

    Talking to the River

    by Clare Knighton

    “Talking to the River” tells the story of a farmer and a group of engineering and computing students from Victoria University of Wellington who collaborate to gather data about river pollution and publicise it. River pollution is a topical issue, and “Talking to the River” provides an example of people dedicated to making a difference. The article explains the impact cows can have on rivers and the importance of being able to accurately measure levels of river pollution. The university students overcome several challenges to create a prototype monitoring device that is fit for purpose. The reach of the project is extended exponentially by creating an app that tracks river improvements and allows users to upload photos to a website.

    Series: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Learning area: English, Science, Technology

    Curriculum level: 3

    Reading year level: 6

    Category: Non-fiction

    Related titles: Listed in TSM

    Topics: algae, algal blooms, citizen science, collaboration, data, endangered species, environment, farming, fish, Grant Muir, monitoring, Pahaoa River, pollution, problem solving, prototypes, rivers, RiverWatch, technology, Victoria University, water quality, waterways

    In: School Journal Level 3 June 2018

    Publication date: June 2018

    Order this text