Articles on: Literacy

I have high (secondary) school students with very low literacy levels. Is PLD relevant?

PLD's structured synthetic phonics range of materials have been designed for primary schools, however, the materials are often modified for students in other sectors with literacy levels at a primary school level. The materials will require a degree of modification when presented to high school students, indigenous students or for those for whom English is not a first language, also for Education Support students.

The only way forward to maximise functional literacy skills is to go back to the 'point of difficulty' and build skills from that point. The PLD reading and spelling testing very quickly establishes the levels of difficulty for students.

What are some of the modifications that can occur for older students?
When selecting phonic-based spelling list words from the Phonic Sight Word Sequence select words that have an appropriate phonic concepts, but select more difficult vocabulary words.
If using any of the PLD worksheet templates, reduce the size of the A4 pages, as the lines will be very junior primary based.
Select the more appropriate passages from the Phonic Dictation range (avoiding the very junior primary passages).
Teach the concepts in a more mature manner, even though the content is primary school based.

PLD's view is that all students can progress with targeted explicit teaching.

To proceed further with PLD's implementation in the secondary sector with specific students, PLD staff will require an estimate of your budget, and how much time will be allocated within the timetable to the targeted reading, spelling and writing sessions. This information can be emailed to

I commend you on your commitment to your students!

Diana Rigg

Updated on: 02/06/2022

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