How does StepsWeb work?


The specialist approach which can be used by non-specialists

StepsWeb stands out because it works on many levels. Research shows the need for a structured literacy approach – particularly with struggling learners.

However, this alone will not work effectively with all learners because some need specific help to develop the necessary processing skills.


There is no point teaching a learner which letter goes with which sound, if the learner can’t process (accurately identify) that sound in the first place.

Likewise, developing new skills and knowledge requires an understanding of strategies to process and retain information effectively.  This is one of the reasons why the ‘more of the same’ approach doesn’t work with dyslexic learners.

 I can honestly say that the STEPS program forms the backbone of my literacy teaching. It brings together and refines some of the best literacy teaching and learning strategies that I have encountered during my time in the classroom and at university undertaking professional development. The technical support provided is outstanding. The program is challenging, user- friendly and effective – and kids love it!

Mrs J, Darflied

Sound Splits 3

A more effective approach

The most effective approach is to develop the underlying processing skills at the same time as teaching the literacy knowledge.

StepsWeb does this by ensuring that learners see and use each word in a variety of contexts.  They will learn to:

  • Decode the word confidently.
  • Instantly recognise the word using orthographic mapping.
  • Use the word in context.
  • Spell the word.
  • Break the word into phonemes.
  • Match the word with its definition.
  • Type or write the word.
  • Use the word in a variety of memory activities.

“The programme is very comprehensive and helps to fill the gaps identified in psych reports, e.g. memory and processing difficulties – without us having to buy a range of different software and specialist services.

It is incredibly user-friendly and it is easy to closely monitor students’ progress and particular areas of strength and need, and to tailor it to meet those specific needs.”

Denise, Maungawhau School

Annies space words-1

The importance of reinforcement and structure

Research shows that dyslexic and other struggling learners need significantly more reinforcement.  In fact, reinforcement is often the deciding factor in success for these learners.

The structure of the StepsWeb Course means that the learner sees and uses every word, word family or phonic pattern in a variety of ways.

In addition, after every 4 or 5 units, StepsWeb automatically analyses each learner's errors and creates individualized reinforcement for that learner - online and printable.

Treasure Hunt

Words (particularly sight vocabulary or irregular words) are introduced as individual words and in sentences, incorporated into games and re-introduced again and again until the learner is completely confident with them.

Workbooks and printable worksheets and games are also recommended for struggling learners.

A feeling of success!

“The girls loved the Steps software I took home last night. Our eldest daughter
had to be dragged away from the computer to have dinner and was very
proud of her gold and silver medals.

She also liked the idea of being able to bring home words from school that
she is focussing on and adding them to the program.

Our younger daughter was watching over her shoulder and has booked
in her turn after school today. It is great when they are so keen to learn.


Richard Clark, Parent