After Two years of School students should be able to:

After two years at school, students will read, respond to, and think critically about fiction and non-fiction texts at the Turquoise level of Ready to Read (the core instructional series that supports reading in the New Zealand Curriculum).

Key characteristics of texts at Turquoise level

Texts at Turquoise level have been designed with characteristics that include:
  • some settings and contexts that may be outside the students’ prior knowledge but can easily be related to it
  • a mix of explicit and implicit content that provides opportunities for students to make simple inferences
  • illustrations that support the meaning and may suggest new ideas or viewpoints
  • mostly familiar words, but some new topic words and descriptive language that are supported by the context (for example, the text may include synonyms, definitions, or explanations) and/or by illustrations
  • some visual language features such as labelled diagrams, inset photographs, and bold text for topic words that are linked to a glossary
  • a variety of sentence structures, including compound sentences and a few complex sentences, so that students are required to notice and use punctuation as a guide to phrasing and meaning
  • frequent use of dialogue and more than one character speaking on a page.
These characteristics support the development of reading behaviours that are described on pages 10-11 and illustrated on the fold-out pages here.



Illustrating the reading standard



Reading standard after two years at school.
Reading standard after two years at school.
Click to enlarge

The King’s Birthday by Dot Meharry; illustrated by Philip Webb
This text is levelled at Turquoise 1.
In this humorous narrative, the King is upset because nobody seems to have remembered his birthday. The illustrations are rich with clues about what is really happening, but the King remains oblivious until he sits down to his royal lunch.This story has a traditional fairytale structure, starting with a problem, continuing with a series of events similar to each other (as the King tries to find out if anyone has remembered his special day), and finishing with a happy ending.
This is a sequel, with lots of humorous links, to The Hole in the King’s Sock (levelled at Orange), which is also available as a big book. This means that students are likely to be very familiar with the characters, setting, and fairytale-like text structure before they read this Turquoise text.
Some key challenges are the 'royal' vocabulary and the use of compound and complex sentences running over two or three lines.
This example highlights the sorts of reading behaviours teachers could expect to observe in students who are meeting the standard. Sometimes these behaviours will be in response to teacher prompts and questions, and sometimes they will be spontaneous as the students notice and respond to the ideas in the text. These behaviours may be during the first or subsequent readings and discussion.


Reading standard after two years at school.
Reading standard after two years at school.
Click to enlarge

Inside the Maize Maze by Sharon Holt; photographs by Anthony Russell
This text is levelled at Turquoise 2.
This non-fiction text begins with an explanation about what mazes are, continues with a recount about a child’s experience of navigating a maze, and ends with a brief report about a maze within a school playground.
Photographs, captions, definitions, and explanations provide support for working out the meanings of unfamiliar vocabulary.
The big idea in this text is that people throughout history have enjoyed the challenges that mazes provide.
Students are likely to be familiar with the concept of mazes before reading this text, either through their direct experience of mazes or through reading the humorous Ready to Read text The Gardener’s Maze (levelled at Green).
This example highlights the sorts of reading behaviours teachers could expect to observe in students who are meeting the standard. Sometimes these behaviours will be in response to teacher prompts and questions, and sometimes they will be spontaneous as the students notice and respond to the ideas in the text. These behaviours may be during the first or subsequent readings and discussion.



  • use what they know about letters and other words to work out new words
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  • read whole sentences without big pauses, and use the punctuation, so that the reading sounds smooth and interesting
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  • notice when they make important mistakes (especially if things stop making sense) and know how to fix them, most of the time
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  • use labels, speech bubbles, charts and tables to help them understand the stories
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  • read silently by themselves
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  • tell if the story is real or made up, remember important parts of it and be able to find parts that answer questions.
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