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More ways to learn literacy


When it comes to education, teachers will tell you that fitting students into rigid teaching programs often leads to poor results.

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That’s why one northern Adelaide primary school is investing in progressive teaching techniques to help improve literacy and provide more accessible ways of learning for children.

Two staff members from Catherine McAuley School at Craigmore recently gained accreditation from the Australian Dyslexia Association (ADA) to deliver Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) in the classroom. The school joins St Therese School at Colonel Light Gardens as the first in South Australia to be accredited by the ADA.

Catherine McAuley School’s Inclusive Education coordinator Courtney Starr said while the MSL techniques were frequently used for students with dyslexia and related differences, research showed that all children could benefit from the explicit and systematic nature of the approach.

“We are very focused on the wellbeing of our students and in developing our staff’s professional skills, which improves outcomes for children,” she said.

Reception teacher Rachel Probets, who has 20 years’ experience in the classroom, is one of the Catherine McAuley School staff to gain her accreditation. Mrs Probets said the one-year intensive course had provided her with valuable new skills and knowledge which she is now utilising in the classroom every day for students at all literacy levels.

“Early prevention of language and literacy difficulties is very important to help students become life-long learners and improve their educational outcomes,’’ Mrs Probets said.

Over the past 18 months, staff have started employing a MSL approach to spelling and reading instruction. This approach is also being employed as intervention for students in Years 1 to 5 to accelerate their literacy development and, to date, the results have been positive.

“The ADA training has enabled us to provide focused, engaging and flexible learning opportunities for all of our students,” Ms Starr said.

To find out more about the ADA program at Catherine McAuley, visit



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