Demands: What are some specific reading demands?

We are going to be working with the Read with Understanding strand. Now… let’s go through it slowly. If you are already an experienced mapper, please skip ahead to the assessment task.

1. Print out the Read with Understanding strand.

Make sure you have the Read with Understanding strand in front of you so you can refer to the details for each step.

It looks like this, but it will have descriptions of skills and knowledge in all of the steps. You can Download the Read with Understanding Strand Chart if you need to.

Read with Understanding

Screenshot 2017-03-16 10.44.252. Choose a specific sample reading text or task from your teaching programme.

Choose some kind of teaching material that your learners have to work with, not NZQA unit standard descriptions.

Here are some examples of samples that you could choose:

  • Several pages from a workbook containing difficult vocabulary or new terminology.
  • Pages from a Code of Practice that people don’t always understand.
  • Content from a workplace induction procedure.
  • A health and safety compliance document.
  • A complicated notice that people have to read and understand.
  • Relevant pages from an Act of Parliament that is relevant to training and assessment.

3. Have clear reasons for choosing the sample

In the assessment template, you’ll need to say why you chose the sample. There are lots of reasons. Here are some:

  • You might have chosen some teaching material that you already know causes difficulties for your learners.
  • You might already know that you need to create some new material to teach a new part of your programme.
  • Your supervisor or manager may have asked you to focus on something in particular.

4. Start your mapping with the Vocabulary progression

In a nutshell, what you’re going to do at every stage is refer to the Strand charts and then shade in your own chart down to the relevant step.

We’re going to practice with the vocabulary progression. This is the easiest place to start.

For most training that has a technical aspect, like trades or employment focused training, it’s safe to start at around step 4/5 for reading. Look at the description for vocabulary at step 4/5.

You’ll see the following:

“… a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic
words and some specialised words”.

Vocabulary Most adults will be able to
Koru / step 1 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words, signs and symbols.
Koru / step 2 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words that includes some compound words.
Koru / step 3 have a reading vocabulary of everyday words and some less common words, acronyms and abbreviations.
Koru / step 4 – 5 have a reading vocabulary that includes some general academic words and some specialised words.
Koru / step 6 have a large reading vocabulary that includes general academic words and specialised words and terms.

5. Use what you know about your own subject

At this point, you need to use your own knowledge of your training material or work to decide whether this applies. In other words:

  • Does the sample require your learners to be able to use some academic words (like “measure”, “demonstrate”, “evaluate”, for example)?
  • Does the material require your learners to use some words that are specific to your trade or specialised training content (“listeria” for catering, “glyphosate” for farming or horticulture, or “Nogs and dwangs” for carpentry, for example)?

If your answer was no, then you need to drop back to step 3 and see if that fits better. Step 3 for vocabulary means there are no academic words and no specialised or technical words.

If you answered yes, then you should push ahead to step 6 and see if the answer is still yes to the description there.

Step 6 applies to vocabulary where you expect your learners to be working with a large bank of academic and specialised or technical words.

If you work in trades, your material is probably at least at steps 4/5 or 6 for vocabulary.

If you have a lot of technical jargon to deal with then go with step 6. If there’s just a bit, but it’s not too much then go with steps 4/5, which is a combined step.

If you’re not sure about what step, this process works well if you do it together with a colleague who knows what you know about what you teach or train.

6. Map the demands on paper first

If you’re working on paper, get a highlighter and shade down from the top until you’ve included the highest step that you identified for vocabulary. You’ll end up with something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.32.43

This is mapping. Above, we’ve mapped the vocabulary demands for reading at steps 4 / 5.

You can download a chart and worksheet here for mapping your own reading sample. It’s exactly the same as section 3.3 of your assessment task. Print this out and you can use it as a rough draft and for notes.

7. Map your reading sample against the rest of the progressions in the strand.

Once you’ve mapped vocabulary, you can move on to Decoding and then other progressions. The system is the same. For each relevant progression:

  • Start somewhere in the middle of the steps – say around step 3.
  • Read the description from the Strand Chart for this step.
  • Use your judgement and decide of your sample matches the description. If it doesn’t drop down to a lower step. If it does, go to a higher step and repeat.

If a progression is not relevant you can skip it. But make sure you have a reason for this as your tutor or assessor may ask you.

There is also some subjective judgement involved. But also, you are the expert here. You know your own content. In the case of vocabulary, it’s easy… If you see technical jargon, you can’t map it at step 3. It has to be above this.

Also, many of the skills and knowledge required at steps 1 and 2 is very developmental. For trades and most courses, you’re going to be mapping at step 3 and above.

In fact, if you are a trades tutor, you may find that much of your course is at step 5 and 6.

When you’ve mapped all of the relevant reading progressions for your sample, you might end up with something like this:

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.32.54

This is mapping in visual terms. From here you need to be able to talk about your results and what they mean.

When you complete the assessment task, you’ll need to answer a series of questions to show that you know what you’ve just done.

These questions are in the assessment template and in the worksheet if you download it. They’re also here below:

  • What text or task did you use?
  • Why did you choose this as your sample?
  • Out of everything here, what are the most important progressions and steps?
  • What about planning for assessment and teaching?

In the template, there are prompts to help you answer the questions. Feel free to ignore them if you like. But they are there to help you get started writing your answers and guide you in the right direction.

If you can map a sample reading text and answer the questions above, you can move onto the next module. Keep your sample handy, though. You’ll need to scan it and upload it when you submit your finished assessment task.

Want to help your kids with reading?

My friend James is developing free resources for parents to help kids with reading. There’s video tutorials, PDF downloads, comprehension questions, and all kinds of  stuff.

This is very cool Kiwi content that you should support. You can also watch and listen to James reading the stories out loud.

There’s a low-key focus on teaching and learning reading comprehension strategies and building vocabulary through original stories.

More about James’ background and own story here.

12 Things You Can Do Right Now To Read Better, Improve Learning, and Understand More

You might think that becoming a better reader is a big secret, but it’s totally not. Here are 12 things you can do right now to read better and improve what you remember and understand:

1. Look for connections: Ask yourself what you already know about the topic that you have to read. Draw a mind map or make a list of your answer.connect

2. Predict the content: Try and make an intelligent guess about what you have to read. Use anything you can to help make your prediction.


3. Identify the main ideas: If you can, get a pen and underline or highlight what you think are the main ideas. Then rank these for importance.


4. Work out the structure: Think about what kind of thing you are reading? Is it a letter? A persuasive argument? An editorial? Facts from a workbook? Cause and effect? Problem and solution?


5. Look at the first sentence: The first sentence in any paragraph is called the topic sentence. If it’s well written, it will tell you what the entire paragraph is about. Just read these.

Topic Sentence

6. Use typography: Typography just means things like bold, underline, and italics. Use these as clues and try and figure out what they are there for. Extend this to headings and subheadings as well.


7. Read between the lines: Try and work out what the writer is not saying. Form an opinion or make a guess.


9. Look at the pictures. This one is pretty obvious, but use the pictures to help you think of questions (see next).


8. Visualise: Make a picture in your mind about what you are reading. If you can, draw it.


10. Ask questions and look for answers: ask yourself questions about everything as you read, e.g. the meanings of words, the structure, what’s coming next, how it’s relevant to you.

ask more questions

11. Get help when you stop understanding: This means talking to someone else or doing some research. You might talk to a friend, a teacher, or pose a question on an online discussion forum.

get help

12. Be aware of which of these strategies you are using when you’re using them: The best readers know they are doing these things when they are doing them.