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Is Steps just a remedial resource?
Steps is a highly effective remedial literacy resource, but it is also designed to be a whole-class (or whole-school!) resource. A whole class of students can be working through Steps at their own individual rates, which frees up a teacher to work individually or in small groups with learners with particular needs.
Alternatively, Steps can be used as a presentation tool to explain a literacy pattern or concept. It will work on an interactive whiteboard, or by using a data projector. The teacher can display a spelling rule or pattern and the class can do an activity as a group before going onto computers themselves and doing individual practice.
Steps can also be used to generate classroom materials. There is an extensive range of worksheet or game materials which are already provided on Steps. This includes literacy practice (spelling or language work) or topic materials. However, a teacher can also use Steps to generate printed materials to support any topic or curriculum area. The program will generate a range of printed materials for any list which has been entered by a teacher or parent.
How can Steps cater for all learners with difficulties? Aren’t they all different?
Well yes and no! Yes, each learner may have a different pattern of difficulties. Some learners have major phonological difficulties, some struggle with the visual aspects and many have memory problems. An approach which focuses only one aspect cannot possibly cater for all of these learners.
However, Steps is different. It can work with every learner because it covers all of the processing difficulties associated with learning. It doesn’t matter if the learner is dyslexic, has other learning difficulties, or just needs extra structure.
Learners with remedial needs obviously do need more structure than learners who are using Steps as a more general literacy support. See our Four Tier Model to see how we recommend that Steps is used with different levels of difficulty.
Is it OK to just use StepsWeb with learners?
With most learners, this is fine, providing that Steps is used in a logical, progressive way. However, for learners with remedial needs, we recommend that they also follow the workbook courses, or that teachers use Steps to support other structured literacy course materials. Research shows that learners with processing difficulties do not progress using computer activities alone. They need that ‘transfer’ to written materials.
Learners at a lower level of literacy should ideally, have extra reinforcement using the Schools Resource Pack (game/activity materials). This is because these learners need considerable support and reinforcement to develop the processing skills involved in literacy (see the Big Five). This extra reinforcement is best provided through games and hands-on activity. The games also provide considerable variety and enjoyment for pupils (and teachers!).
Can Steps be used to support other remedial literacy courses?
Yes, Steps can support any well-structured, research-based literacy course materials. You can adapt Steps by building your own complete custom course to support your favourite materials, or by ‘dipping in’ to access specific wordlists or activities. However, you may find it easier to use the workbook courses, which are specifically designed to be used with Steps and incorporate the incredibly effective Wordrace system!
Does Steps cover Māori?
Steps is designed to cater for Māori content. You can put in and record your own Māori words and sentences and print out worksheets and other materials.
Can I use Steps for other languages?
To a certain extent! For technical reasons, the current version of Steps does not cater for accents other than Māori. However, you can currently enter and record words, sentences and definitions for any text-based language (without accents). The sentence can be in that language or in English. See the German example below:
Word Sentence Definition
ausgezeichnet Seine Arbeit ist ausgezeichnet. This word means ‘excellent’.