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NZ literacy programme shortlisted for US award

New Zealand-created literacy programme shortlisted for major US award

A literacy programme created by a family-owned New Zealand company for the National Geographic Society has been shortlisted for a major United States award for excellence in educational publishing.

Step Up and Fluent Plus levels of the National Geographic Society’s Windows on Literacy reading programme are finalists in the Association of Educational Publishers 2003 Distinguished Achievement Awards, being announced in Washington DC on June 4.

The non-fiction programme was created and developed by Petone-based Gilt Edge Publishing in a joint venture arrangement for the society with Barrie Publishing of Melbourne Australia.

Through its five reading levels, the programme caters for reading ages from four to nine, and integrates literacy development with social studies, science and technology content. The programme’s emergent, early and fluent levels won a Distinguished Achievement Award last year.

Gilt Edge Publishing sales and marketing manager, Jason Henry, said the programme’s listing as a finalist for two years running was a major accomplishment for the company, which had only been in operation for three years.

“Publishing for such an esteemed worldwide organisation has been an incredible achievement for the company. This recognition by our industry peers endorses the quality of the Windows on Literacy programme. To be shortlisted for a second year running is phenomenal.”

Sales of Windows on Literacy have taken off in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. “Teachers around the world have recognised the need for a quality non-fiction reading programme, and there’s no organisation better placed to do this than the prestigious National Geographic Society’s Schools Publishing Division,” Mr Henry said.

In the past year the society added another 100 titles to the reading programme, and Mr Henry said plans were underway to develop the programme further. Windows on Literacy already contains more than 250 student titles and teacher resources at the beginning through to fluent plus reading levels.

Gilt Edge Publishing was established in 2000 by Lower Hutt businessman Gil McGahey and his daughters Ann Husmann and Kate McGahey. Gil had previously owned Petone companies Lands End Publishing and Price Milburn. Together with its international focus, the company has its roots firmly planted in New Zealand, and publishes specific New Zealand titles for the education and arts markets, including the Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Artists.

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