Sunday, May 26, 2024

‘Being able to read and write is a fundamental life skill’

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Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Education Minister Erica Stanford announced changes to how pupils will be taught to read during a visit to an Auckland school on May 2. Photo supplied

The coalition Government is investing $67 million to change the way pupils who attend state schools will be taught to read.

Prime Minister and Botany MP Christopher Luxon made the announcement during a visit to an Auckland school with Education Minister Erica Stanford on May 2.

“Structured literacy is about getting back to basics and teaching children to read by using sounds and phonics to understand works,” Luxon says.

“The evidence shows structured literacy is the most effective way of equipping children with the strong reading skills they need in life.

“That’s why, beginning in term one 2025, all state schools will teach reading using the proven structured literacy approach.”

Luxon says his Government is putting $67m from Budget 2024 toward the initiative.

“This will support professional development on structured literacy for teachers, deliver books and resources for schools and teachers, introduce phonics checks to assess student progression, and provide additional support for students who need it,” he says.

Stanford says structured literacy will change the way New Zealand children learn to read.

It will improve achievement and set students up for success, she says.

“Being able to read and write is a fundamental life skill that too many young people are missing out on.

“Recent data shows just 56 per cent of Year 8 students are at the expected level for reading, and just 35 per cent for writing.

“Domestic and international evidence shows this method is the most effective way of equipping children with strong reading skills that are critical for their futures.

“A number of schools in New Zealand are already teaching structured literacy and have experienced significant improvements in student achievement.

“I want all children to have this opportunity.”

Stanford says the Government has set a target of getting 80 per cent of Year 8 students to curriculum level by 2030, “and teaching structured literacy is a critical part of how we plan to get there”.

“Structured literacy goes hand-in-hand with our requirement for schools to teach an hour a day of reading, writing and maths, as well as implementing a curriculum that is rich in knowledge and clear about what students should be learning and when.

“Our teachers are amazing and we are supporting them to deliver improved outcomes in reading and writing.”

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