Sylvia Ashton-Warner’s method of teaching beginning reading in English is used in many of the countries where English is spoken, especially when English is the child’s second language. Ashton-Warner (1908–1984) was a White (Pakeha) New Zealand (Aotearoa) teacher who taught 4- and 5-year-old Maori children in a segregated school system in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Her most memorable contribution was Key Words, also called Organic Reading or Key Vocabulary. She first wrote about the method in her semi-autobiographical novel Spinster (1959) and chronicled it again in her educational book Teacher (1973); both were bestsellers.

The Key Words method begins most simply: Words are kept in envelopes with the children’s names on them. The first lesson begins with the child the teacher has chosen for his ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles