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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Sharifa lived at home with her family in Afghanistan until they had to flee to a refugee camp in Pakistan. The family stayed in the camp for several years before coming to New Zealand two years ago.

Sharifa never went to school. Now she and her husband are learning to speak, read and write in English and their young children are progressing rapidly at school.

When Sharifa first joined a literacy class, she was given a diagnostic assessment. As part of the assessment, her tutor gave her a small book and asked Sharifa to indicate the front of the book, to open the book and to show the title of the book.

Sharifa was able to open the book and point to the line of text on each page. She guessed (by looking at the pictures and reading the one or two words she knew) that the story was about a woman and her family. The name of the woman in the book was Sadiya, and Sharifa recognised the “S” as the same as her own name.

Teaching suggestions for Sharifa

  • Look at the title of the book used in the assessment together and read it aloud to her.
  • Encourage Sharifa to identify other occurrences of the name “Sadiya” in the book.
  • Count the words on a page (there will probably be four to six words).
  • Read the whole book with Sharifa.
  • Encourage her to retell (reading when she can) parts of the book with a reading partner.
  • Encourage Sharifa to identify other words in her environment that begin with “s”. Encourage Sharifa to practise her new skills with her children and in class.



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