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Focus on literacy continues with new programme

Focus on literacy continues with new programme

The government is continuing its focus on literacy as a top education priority through the launch today of a new programme designed to help teachers improve students' reading and writing skills, Education Minister Trevor Mallard says.

"Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13 is a professional development programme aimed at helping secondary school teachers in all subject areas cater for the literacy needs of their students," Trevor Mallard said at the launch at Shirley Boys' High School in Christchurch.

"Our government is committed to lifting education standards so that every child has the chance to succeed to their full potential. Reading and writing skills are absolutely critical for our students to do well in education and work, and that's why we are targeting literacy as a top priority.

"We know from the Programme in International Student Assessment 2000 study (PISA) that New Zealand's 15 year-olds are third in the OECD in literacy skills. The challenge is that around 14 per cent of our 15 year-olds are at the other end of the scale and we are intent on turning this around.

"Improving teachers' classroom practice is key to improving students' literacy and that's what this new programme is all about.

"The programme is made up of three parts - a guide for the in-school literacy facilitator, a guide for the school literacy team, and a guide for the classroom teacher.

"It includes a range of varied strategies that can be used to lift students' skills and their knowledge of vocabulary, reading and writing. The beauty is that it is also flexible so schools can customise the learning materials and workshops to suit their needs," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard also congratulated Shirley Boys' High School for its strong commitment to lifting the literacy skills of its students.

"I'm pleased to launch the new guide here because Shirley Boys' has a well developed literacy programme providing excellent support for students at all levels of the school."

Schools can access the new programme through the Ministry of Education school support advisory services. Attached is a list of other literacy programmes and interventions available.

Literacy Strategy 2004

Literacy Professional Development The primary project that focuses on reading comprehension or writing in years 1-8; Through the Colleges of Education various initiatives which are flexible and designed to meet specific identified needs of schools and teachers who are working to lift students' reading and writing skills; and The secondary schools research and development project that started last year and will finish in 2005.

Literacy and Numeracy test asTTle The literacy and numeracy test asTTle (Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning) are tests that enable teachers in years 5-7 to track the progress and achievement of both individual students and groups of students against national literacy and numeracy standards, and then target teaching to address students' weaknesses. Tests will be available for years 8 - 10 by December 2004.

Reading Recovery teachers Reading Recovery teachers work with six-year-olds who have been identified as requiring individual instruction, with government funding of $20 million per year.

Resource Teachers Resource Teachers: Literacy (RT:Lits) work with years 1-8 students most at risk of not achieving, and their teachers. Since 1998/99 the number of these teachers has increased from 68 to 120.

Effective Literacy in all primary schools Literacy Development Officers encourage a review of the effectiveness of each school's literacy programmes. They work with school managers to help them analyse students' literacy data, and then help schools access appropriate professional development.

Resources for teachers and students The Ready to Read books and School Journals now have more support for struggling readers and include accompanying notes for teachers. The Game and Other Stories and Swimming with Sharks and Other Stories, two popular series developed by Learning Media on CD-ROM, and aimed at reluctant readers in years 7 - 10, have been extended with Post Cards in Space, with special appeal for year 5 - 6 Maori and Pasifika boys.

Materials for Home-School Partnerships Materials to support parents and teachers in developing effective home-school partnerships that focus on literacy and numeracy learning, have also been produced.

English Language training and help A professional development programme for schools with significant numbers of migrant and Pasifika students, continued from 2003, plus English for Speakers of Other Languages resources.


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