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Illustrations - Icons

The topic primers have been designed so that they are easy to teach and can be used in small groups or as 'each one teach one' materials if that is applicable to the situation. The primers do not require a separate teacher's manual. Instead a series of icons are used throught the primers to indicate the type of activity that is intended for each part of the lesson. These icons are fully explained and demonstrated in the tutor training workshops.

Our icons were created by Natashia Curtin and are freely available for your use. It is not neceesary to acknowledge the illustrator of these icons. To download the file for use, click on the underlined heading for the icon you require.

Shared reading icon

The shared reading icon indicates that the reading activity is to be done as a group (socially) with the tutor taking the lead role until students are comfortable to read the text independently. It also indicates there should be several repeated readings of the text which can be done in large or small groups or in pairs.

Discussion icon

The discussion icon indicates that the comments and questions that accompany the icon are to be used by the tutor or group to stimulate discussion about the text or the topic with students.

Word work

Learning the sound - letter connections is important in building good decoding skills. This icon indicates that this is the focus of the activities that accompany it.



The writing icon indicates users should be do these writing activities in their exercise books or on lapboards or papers. Writing strengthens the learning of the sound-letter connections and encourages learners to use their increasing abilities to share or record their thoughts or key ideas being learned.

Did you know?

the topic primers encourage a reading to know focus. Sometimes there are interesting facts related to the topic that are not contained in the text. These are included with this icon. Either the teacher or the student reads this paragraph depending on its complexity.

Medical information

Several of our topics are based on health texts. Our nurse icon is sometimes used in these topics where we want to make sure readers are given correct medical information, to clarify any points that have the potential to be misunderstood from narrative texts or to give additional medical information that may be useful.


Work with your family

This icon indicates that students need to do this activity with the family or the group of people they live with. The purpose is to increase the level of support in families and groups for shared literacy practices. It also opens opportunities for learners to share what they are learning with others. New materials developed at home can also be shared in the literacy class thus increasing the amount of available literacy materials and building ownership of programs by families and communities.

From time to time our topic primers encourage the group to present the story they have been studying to others as a drama. The process we teach for this includes six steps:

  1. Read the full story together.
  2. Look at the parts of the story and name each part.
  3. Consider how the different characters feel at different times in the story.
  4. Read each part of the story again, with feeling.
  5. Practice the drama together ready for showing others.
  6. Perform the drama for a small group or for the community.

Along with the shared reading icon, we also use the following icons to indicate the steps in preparing to share a story.

Cut up the text and look at the parts carefully



Identify the emotions in the text of the different characters and participants.


 Practice or perform the drama or play.




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