The Struggling Older Reader ONLiNE Course

Getting Those Struggling Readers Back on Track

SEVENPLUS - A simple 10 week intervention that works!
And then a transition back into a 'normal' guided reading program.

Rationale for this Course

Every classroom has them, those 8-15 year olds who never got to decoding fluency and are slowly drifting further and further behind their peers. 

This course has been designed to address these needs. With just a few hours of online study you can master our two simple routines and integrate them into your normal reading rotation or slot them into your program as a 15 minute group withdrawal.

A key component of this course is our 8-10 week intervention (SevenPlus) that will get these students over the decoding hump, and then we show you how to transition your rejuvenated readers back into a more traditional guided reading program.

Our approach is based on reader SUCCESS ... such an important ingredient for these success deprived students.

READ the article 'Struggling readers years 3-8: A practical classroom intervention', for a full explanation of the research supporting our SevenPlus intervention.  This was written by Chuck Marriott (co-writer /designer of SevenPlus) and published by the New Zealand Literacy Association

What does this Course give me?

Your professional training - What are the features?

1. Two distinct 'programs' each with a well thought out methodology that guides you step-by-step through your new learning.

UNIT 1: Getting Started

  • Defining 'The Struggling Older Reader

  • Simple Screening tests to identify whether students meet the criteria 

  • Downloadable Course Book for at-your-finger-tips classroom reference

UNIT 2: SevenPlus - introducing our 8-10 week intervention

  • All the texts and resources you need to run the intervention

  • Clear guidelines for matching students to text levels of difficulty

UNIT 3: The SevenPlus Routine

  • Clear explanation and video models of the routine.

  • Come back and have another look to check your implementation

UNIT 4: The Transition from SevenPlus to 'The 5 Bits'

  • Are students ready to move on?

  • The importance of a transition back into a 'normal' guided reading routine

  • Resources, planning and assessment templates, Learning Outcomes

UNIT 5: The '5 Bits' Routine - Our modified SharpReading Stage 2 routine

  • Clear explanation and video models of the classroom routine

  • Where to go next?

2. Twelve months access to the course - plenty of opportunities to revisit and consolidate your learning

3. A Certificate of Completion once you finish the course

Outcomes for your Students - What do you take away?

1. A Clear Learning Pathway for your Students (and you)

  • The focus is on 'keep it simple' - an essential for struggling readers.

2. Structured Routines - Explicit Teaching and Independent Practice

  • The teaching should never overwhelm the student

  • 10-12 minute lessons keep students in the zone

  • Only one Learning Focus per lesson

  • Highly predictable routines allow the students to feel in control of their practice

  • Scaffolding ensures students experience success

3. Satisfaction - Students are very motivated because they experience success with text they would normally think is too difficult!

What about Resources?

Everything you need is included

  • Testing and screening procedures for both programs

  • StoryBytes and InfoBytes formatted for SevenPlus - enough material for 120 lessons

  • Illustrated StoryBytes for '5 Bits lessons

  • Teacher Scripts, Planning Templates, charts, and learning outcomes

  • You get a printable 24 page Course Book for at-your-fingertips classroom reference

  • You get an extensive SevenPlus manual with lots of additional resources, information and research references


For those who prefer an event to get them going (cover the content in one sitting)

  • Opt-in for a 2.5-hour Start-Up webinar

  • Webinar covers detailed training of the SevenPlus routine PLUS an overview of 'The 5 Bits'.

  • Be ready to make a start in your classroom the next day.


This is the ultimate support package. Get the very best out of this training.

  • Get personalised feedback from one of the writers of the course to check your implementation (when you are ready).

  • We can do this virtually - upload a 10-minute video of your lesson (warts and all).

  • We will arrange a 30-minute Zoom debriefing session

  • Become an Accredited SevenPlus teacher

"Once they realise that there is a routine and that routine is the same every day, they are much happier to take part and take risks."

Maria, Year 5 teacher.

They can see that they are getting better at decoding and also that they are reading text now that is far more difficult than they are used to."

Stephanie, teacher

“SevenPlus and The 5 Bits have been so easy to fit into my reading programme. I think the teaching routines are brilliant." 


Select the Training Option that suits you best

CREDIT CARD PAYMENT: Click the BUY NOW links below and get instant access.


  1. The Struggling Older Reader ONLiNE Course
    12 months access
    At-your-own-pace and
    in-your-own-time training
    Includes $100 resources


  1. The Struggling Older Reader ONLiNE Course
    12 months access
    Includes $100 resources

  2. Start-Up Webinar (2.5 hr)
    An event to get you going
    Sign up below
    Choose from our list or Book On-Demand


  1. The Struggling Older Reader ONLiNE Course
    12 months access
    Includes $100 resources

  2. Start-Up Webinar (2.5 hr)
    Sign up below
    Choose from our list or Book On-Demand

  3. Virtual observation
    To be arranged when
    you are ready

CONDITIONS OF SALE: Each ONLiNE course is purchased as a 1 User Licence with 12 months access via the internet.
GST will be added at checkout for NZ customers. 

Credit Card Purchase

ALL OPTIONS: Click on BUY NOW links. You will get instructions for access to the ONLiNE Course as part of the purchasing process.
  BASIC: That's it! You are done!

BASIC PLUS and PREMIUM: Select a Start-Up Webinar

You need to fill in the form below and select an option from the list of scheduled Struggling Older Reader Start-Up Webinars. 
If the dates and times don't suit then go to BOOK ON-DEMAND.
We will email you to confirm your webinar and provide a Webinar Invitation.

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Want to PAY on INVOICE?

Fill in the form and SUBMIT.
BASIC only - We will email you instructions for accessing the ONLiNE course.
BASIC PLUS & PREMIUM - Remember to select a Start-Up Webinar option.
We will email you access instructions AND a webinar invitation.

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What People Say About 'The Struggling Older Reader'.

SevenPlus Makes a Difference!

"The impact has been huge! Our struggling Year 6 students from last year have been 'normalised'. The Year 7 teachers are saying that they are slotting into the Year 7 program (junior secondary) without the need for extra specialist reading help."  

Feel Confident that there IS Something You can do!

If you are a teacher anywhere across the age range of 8-15 year-olds you may be well removed from art of basic reading instruction and talk of phonics is like being introduced to a new language.  But you are very aware of those students in your class who do not have the reading skills they need to progress across the curriculum and you can see their motivation and feeling of self-worth about learning draining away

You need something but you are time poor and can't commit to any extensive study on the subject. 

This course will give you answers. We will share our insights into the most common problem these readers face and some simple but very effective tools that you can pick up and put into action very quickly.

It may not work for everyone, but we have some pretty compelling data gathered over the last 6 years that says it will make a difference for many.

Course Writers - Your Tutors

Hilton Ayrey

Hilton and Chuck began collaborating on this project in 2015, bringing together their expertise to provide a solution to this perennial problem of the reader who struggles to make progress in reading and gets further and further behind.

Chuck's work as a Resources Teacher of Literacy meant many hours working with these students, formulating activities that made a difference. Hilton brought his experience of developing tightly structured routines to help the teacher deliver lessons that encourage and empower these learners. The result is our SevenPlus Intervention which we are both very proud of. We are both constantly delighted by the feedback that we receive on its efficacy.

Chuck Marriott

Although the course is stand-alone training we are always available to discuss your training during your 12 months access to 'The Struggling Older Reader'. For face-to-face introductions you can register for our webinars and workshops and also negotiate in-school support.

Do You Need a PREVIEW?

Sign yourself In and have a look NOW!

Put your NAME and EMAIL address into the box opposite and click SUBMIT and you will be taken inside the Struggling Older Reader ONLiNE Course.

This is an opportunity to take a good look at the course and actually see how it is structured, the type of content you will have access to, (including the resources) and get a feel for the training you will be purchasing.

The links to downloads will not be connected but you will easily be able to imagine the value of this course for advancing your teaching career.

Remember when you complete the course you will be sent a personalised certificate.

FAQs About The Struggling Older Reader

How do I know if my this is appropriate for my students?

If your students are 7-15 years old and reading two or more years behind their chronological age then our SevenPlus Intervention is more than likely going to help. Testing procedures are included in the course so that you can quickly identify whether they meet the criteria for our SevenPlus intervention.  If they pass the test then the second part of the course "The 5 Bits" guided reading routine will build their confidence and get them back up to speed.

What is your main point of difference to other approaches?

Motivation to 'have a go' is a huge issue for a reader who has experienced 4-8 years of failure as a reader. The simple structured routines we have developed for this course guarantee that the learner experiences SUCCESS! Once that starts happening all sorts of progress begins to take place. The routine also keeps you the teacher from overloading the learner with lots of learning possibilities - some find it very hard to sit on their hands and stick to the process - but this is a key to revitalising these learners.

What is your research basis?

The routines are well supported by research. This is all carefully documented in the SevenPlus manual that you receive as part of the course and it the article published by the NZ Literacy Association.

Is this approach suitable for students with severe learning difficulties?

Generally speaking we say no it isn't. The ideal candidates for SevenPlus are those who have failed to develop decoding fluency and are therefore performing below the expected level but would not be classified as being in the extreme category. The learner must have some letter sound knowledge and this is quickly identified in the initial screening test. Having said that, we have had good results with students with dyslexia. 

Do I need to have an extensive knowledge of phonics?

No this is not a requirement. Many upper school teachers have a very limited knowledge of basic reading instruction and we aimed to provide something that they could pick up quickly and easily without having to commit themselves to a lot of study. You will easily pick up the basics you need as you go.

If we purchase this program as a school, does this mean that all teachers can freely use the resources and the teaching manual? 

The Struggling Older Reader ONLiNE Course and all the attached resources are sold as a one-user licence. Teachers must purchase their own access. If you have a significant number of teachers wanting to do this training then contact us to negotiate a site/school licence.


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