Over the past 18 months, teachers from St Bernard’s Primary School have been using instructional teaching practices, to improve the literacy outcomes of their K-6 students via programs including Spelling Mastery and Let’s Decode.

As early adopters in the Archdiocese, teachers have been delivering evidence-based reading and spelling instruction to help their students learn specific language and grow their knowledge and understanding of phonics and spelling.

Since participating in training with Associate Professor Dr Lorraine Hammond, teachers have begun collaborating and sharing resources to ensure all classrooms at St Bernard’s are working from the same knowledge base.

Teachers have also begun using a specific technique to check for student understanding known as TAPPLE, where they –

  1. Teach First
  2. Ask A Question
  3. Pause, then Pair-Share
  4. Pick a Non-Volunteer
  5. Listen
  6. Effective Feedback

TAPPLE, combined with the Daily Review process (the high Impact practice of retrieving previously learned content), has seen students further develop their literacy skills.

Teachers have also begun filming their lessons so they can receive coaching advice and feedback from instructional coaches.

St Bernard’s Teacher using TAPPLE

Mrs Davis

Mrs Davis

Mrs Sarah Davis planned an interactive noun lesson that involved using tone and connecting body gestures to the definition of nouns to aid student’s memory and recall. She applied TAPPLE by teaching the concept first, then asking her students to name the nouns without instruction.

Watch Mrs Davis’ noun lesson

Mr Ward

Mr Ward

Mr Tony Ward implemented a syllable lesson, instructing his students to sound out the syllables of each word in a fun and interactive way. He used the TAPPLE model to teach first, then picked a volunteer to speak out loud in the class, listening to their responses and giving them feedback.

Watch Mr Ward’s syllable lesson

Mrs Hardman

Mrs Hardman

Mrs Jane Hardman used TAPPLE to teach compound words. She instructed her students to sound out the sentences before testing students individually on the definition of compound words.

Watch Mrs Hardman’s compound words lesson

Mrs Campbell

Mrs Campbell

Mrs Claire Campbell conducted a spelling exercise with her class, using the same teachnique-teaching first before picking a volunteer, listening and giving feedback.

Watch Mrs Campbell’s lesson


Principal, Johanna Wain, said the teaching approach has already delivered improved learning outcomes and active participation in the classroom, with noticeable uplift in student engagement.

“Both teachers and Leaders have benefited from this program and are highly motivated to continue implementing high impact teaching strategies in all classrooms to improve student outcomes.”

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