Unique Method of Study

RTL English is a unique method of study which enables children from 3 to 18 years old to develop the English language communication and literacy skills they need to have a richer, more successful educational experience.

Our System teaches all the communicative functions and language forms students need, including:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Alphabetic Principle
  • Systematic & Explicit Phonics
  • Fluency with Text
  • Proficient Grammar Knowledge
  • Creative Writing
  • Expanded Vocabulary
  • Advanced Comprehension, and
  • Confident Speaking Skills

What Students Learn

  • Phonological & Phonemic Awareness
    • Teaching children to become phonologically aware is a prerequisite for studying phonics and leads to reading and spelling proficiency. Our students learn how to notice, think about and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words.
  • Systematic Phonics
    • Students will learn that systematic and predictable relationships exist between written letters and spoken sounds. They learn sound to symbol relationships in a clearly defined sequence including consonants, blends, segmenting, short and long vowels, consonant and vowel digraphs, diphthongs and variant sound to symbol relationships.
  • Listening Comprehension
    • Students will learn to understand explicitly stated facts in spoken language, as well as to implicitly understand and draw inferences from spoken passages that feature complicated syntax and advanced vocabulary.
  • Spelling, Vocabulary & Semantic
    • Students will learn to understand the meaning of word parts (morphology), individual words within the language (vocabulary) and that those words are arranged in phrases, sentences and discourse in meaningful ways. We promote new vocabulary retention and recall by first teaching common spelling patterns and phonetically-regular words, before moving on to more difficult, irregular words.
  • Pronunciation, Speaking & Oral
    • Students will learn to produce individual sounds and their combinations, first in isolation and then as part of communicative activities and oral presentations. Pronunciation development focuses on the production of native-like English rhythm, stress, and intonation.
  • Reading Comprehension
    • Students will learn to derive meaning from text. This involves all elements of the reading process working together as a text is read to create a representation of the text in your child’s mind. We use guided oral reading and story structure comprehension strategies to enhance student comprehension.

Monitoring Progress

Weekly Student Reports
  • Members are encouraged to write a very brief report (Student Weekly Report) about student progress at the end of each lesson.
Monthly Parent Reports
  • Members are encouraged to collate and distill Weekly Student Reports into a Monthly Parent Report that is then sent home for parents to read and review with their child.
Annual Reports
  • At the end of the academic year, Members are encouraged to prepare an Annual Report for students. This report details your student progress throughout the year, as well as their strengths and needs. Many parents like to show these reports to their child’s current or prospective schools.
Student Certificates
  • At the end of each level, Members are encouraged to issue students with a certificate that shows that they have attained a recognised standard of knowledge and competency. An RTL English certificate will assure schools and other organisations that students have met credible levels of English language performance.

A Revolutionary Curriculum

Our curriculum has been uniquely created by a highly regarded team of educators, linguists, and instructional designers with over 100 years of combined English language teaching experience.

Our founder Elaine Shannon, is an internationally respected educator who has nearly 40 years of experience teaching English and phonics to children. Mrs Shannon has also written over 700 student activity books that form the heart of the RTL English teaching system.

We’ve invested more than US$2 million developing controlled teaching materials that meet the English language requirements of the National Curricula in Hong Kong, mainland China, India, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and in many other countries worldwide.

Our curriculum prepares students for Cambridge University’s young learner tests: Starters, Movers, Flyers. It also prepares them for Cambridge University’s tests: KETS, PETS, FCE, CAE, IELTS, as well as Trinity College London’s Grades of Spoken English Tests 1-12.


Step-by-step Learning

  • We teach using a Step-by-Step method. Each lesson is slightly more challenging than the last. As a result, students advance in small, manageable steps, making sequential progress so that they acquire English language skills that last a lifetime.
  • Sequenced instruction is organised into 3 developmentally appropriate stages, 15 levels of increasing difficulty and 526 lessons. Each lesson provides one hour of learning per week and follows a workbook that consists of six worksheets with instructional content and one reinforcement exercise page. Each workbook has a similar structure:
  • Each lesson is accompanied by a workbook follows a similar plan:
    • Page 1 :: Communication/ Discussion/ Topic orientated
    • Page 2 :: Grammar/ Language
    • Page 3 :: Phonics/ Vocabulary
    • Page 4 :: Reading(Ongoing Story)
    • Page 5 :: Story Comprehension/ Language
    • Page 6 :: Grammar/ Language Exercise
    • Page 7 :: Achievement Exercise / Assessment
  • Depending on student age and their English skills, instruction typically consists of a variety of activities including speaking, listening, letter-sound correspondence, sight words, guided oral reading, text comprehension, creative writing, grammar and critical thinking.

A Foundation of Phonics

We teach synthetic & analytical phonics which includes 44 basic phonemes, 22 beginning blends and 15 ending blends.Our students learn and practise phonics throughout our Kindergarten, Primary School and Junior Secondary School stages. Our Senior Secondary School stage uses phonics to teach pronunciation.

We pay particular attention to blended consonant sounds (that are located at the beginning and end of many words). We’ve found that many ESL students struggle with consonant blends and find them the most difficult sounds to pronounce. The RTL English system solves that problem by integrating phonics practise into every lesson. Phonics are also used for decoding new words and pronunciation throughout Secondary school. We believe that our intense focus on phonics is the reason for our excellent results in Cambridge University and Trinity College language tests.

We teach vowels first and then consonants. As soon as possible we teach children to read. In practice this means after students have learnt 5 vowel sounds and 2 consonants they can read two words by themselves: ‘kick, cock’. We then introduce 1 more consonant -‘t’; the children can then read ‘tick, cat, cot’. We also teach students how to decode words, so from the very beginning they can see new simple words and know how to read them.


Cambridge University Tests

RTL English prepares students for Cambridge University’s young learner tests: Starters, Movers, Flyers. It also prepares them for Cambridge University’s tests: KETS, PETS, FCE, CAE, & IELTS.

Students taught English by teachers who use our system outperform other students by nearly 20% despite being almost 2 years younger than other candidates.

RTL English Starters students are over 2 years younger than other candidates & outperform other students by an average of 11%. In recent years, an average of 90% of our Starters students achieved 4+ shields across all three skill areas examined: reading & writing, listening and speaking.

RTL English Movers students are over 1.5 years younger than other candidates & outperform other students in Hong Kong by an average of 16%. In recent years, an average of 91% of our Movers students achieved 4+ shields in reading & writing, while 100% of our Movers students achieved 4+ shields in listening and speaking.

RTL English Flyers students are over 0.7 years younger than other candidates & outperform other students in Hong Kong by an average of 21%. In recent years, an average of 90% of our Flyers students achieved 4+ shields in reading & writing, while 100% of our Flyers students achieved 4+ shields in speaking.