What to teach? When to screen? How to cater for the range in ability?

This course will provide you with the structure and tools to improve the literacy outcomes of your Year 3, 4, 5 & 6 students.

About the Synthetic Phonics and Beyond online course

Recommended for - staff working within Year 3, 4, 5 & 6.
Course presenter - Diana Rigg BA(Ed), BEd, CPP(UK), MEd, MSc(SpPath)
Course length - 3 hours of viewing plus quiz
Access to course - 90 days
Certificate - Awarded upon completion
Supporting materials - Referenced material available for download

Synthetic Phonics and Beyond course description

This course includes over 2 hours of video content and over 240 slides you can refer to during the course and download so you can refer to them later. 

Each classroom has a range in ability. The course outlines a process which enables teachers to be comfortable with the range in ability, and flexible enough to devise a process that matches student ability.

The first step is assessing the class. A simple time efficient non-standardised spelling test is provided. It identifies the gaps in knowledge and/or the level at which students are currently at.

On the basis of the results (and the range in ability) next a synthetic phonics approach is outlined which aims to deliver significant spelling and phonics skill development.

This cost effective short course is comprised of 6 instalments

Follow the links in the detailed course description below for a FREE PREVIEW of Instalment 1.
Note: You’ll be asked to create an account prior to the preview but you will not be charged at this point.

Instalment 1: Screening to establish the range in ability within a middle or upper primary class. 

By the conclusion of installment 1 you will:

  • Understand the components of high performing primary schools.
  • Understand the PLD's junior primary stages 1 and 2 and also the middle and upper primary stages 3 - 6 structured sequence of phonic concepts.
  • Know how to administer the Phonic Sight Word Sequence non-standardised spelling placement test to a whole class.

Instalment 2: The marking/analysis of the student spelling tests, to establish ability groups and to focus your teaching. 

By the conclusion of installment 2 you will:

  • Understand the guidelines for marking the middle and upper primary spelling tests.
  • Understand how to analyse many of the typical junior primary, and middle & upper primary spelling errors.
  • Observed the analysis of a 'real class' in which a proportion of the students present as advanced, average and delayed.
  • Be able to establish 3-4 targeted teaching ability groups in direct response to the whole class spelling screening.
  • Understand how to plan the teaching required directly on the basis of the data collected from the text the 'Phonic Sight Word Sequence'

Instalment 3: Quality learning activities drawing upon the class profile. 

By the conclusion of installment 3 you will:

  • Understand what is synthetic phonics and the international evidence-base supporting its implementation in primary schools.
  • Know how to select and present phonic-word lists for the different ability groups
  • Be able to apply initial starting activities which are based upon synthetic phonic theory (and thereby focus students on the phonic and phonemic or sound structure of list words.)

Installment 4: Establishing a weekly spelling process in which three groups can be facilitated.   

By the conclusion of installment 4 you will:

  • Be able to trial in your classroom a suggested lesson format for implementing synthetic phonics in literacy blocks.
  • Be able to select from a range of activities with a clear and specific focus (e.g. synthetic phonic activities in which students 'sound-out' and apply the phonic concept or tasks that require the transference of learned phonic concepts into written work.)

Instalment 5: Frequently Asked Questions   

By the conclusion of installment 5 you will have explored a range of frequently asked questions.

  • How many spelling list words are right for the students within your class?
  • For your students is it beneficial to present one phonic pattern or a combination?
  • Understand how and when do spelling groups get reviewed?
  • Understand how sight words (or high frequency words) are integrated with the synthetic phonics process

Instalment 6: Using the class profile to expand the process beyond spelling & students who are progressing slowly.  

By the conclusion of installment 6 you will:

  • Understand the need for targeted teaching and proving repeated practice in the areas of reading, spelling, and writing.
  • Be clear on the purpose of decodable reading material for students still operating at a junior primary reading level.
  • Know how to administer the Early Reading Profile a non-standardised reading screen to all students operating at a junior primary reading level and who still require phonic-rich decodable reading material.
  • Know how to start integrating phonic dictation within the synthetic phonic word study sessions.


Diana Rigg

Founder of PLD Literacy and Learning

Diana Rigg founded PLD Organisation because she recognised a large gap in the time it took for research findings to make it into practice in the classroom. With a Master’s degree in Education and Speech Pathology, Diana was convinced she could help close that gap, offering assistance to parents, teachers, and school systems looking for help in promoting literacy to the young people in their lives. With extensive experience as a Classroom Teacher, Specialist Literacy Teacher and Speech Pathologist, Diana understood what was needed. Drawing on over 15 years as a Professional Educational Consultant, Diana assembled a passionate team of Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Designers to help her translate the latest research and best practices from around the world into attractive, easy to use resources for both the home and classroom setting. Diana is active in both consultancy and publishing. Understanding the challenges of a classroom puts Diana in the perfect positions to deliver quality products aligned with school learning systems. Extensive experience in consultancy allows her to develop products suitable for use in the home either as supplemental lessons or as part of a homeschooling curriculum. In February 2010, Diana was recognised as one of Western Australia’s top “40 under 40” by the WA Business News. For more information on Diana’s work, you can Contact Diana or connect via Facebook or LinkedIn