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Reading Is Cool Message For Hutt Kids

Reading is cool message for Hutt kids

Government Book Week, which encourages children from low decile schools to get excited about reading, is getting underway in Hutt City.

Government Book Week, which encourages children from low decile schools to get excited about reading, is getting underway in Hutt City.

From 28 June to 2 July 2004, Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard and other MPs will be handing out books to students around the country and promoting the Books in Homes message 'It's Cool to Read'.

Books in Homes is a literacy programme benefiting some 80,000 young Kiwis at 442 schools, including more than 1,300 pupils from seven schools in Hutt City.

The programme aims to break the cycle of 'booklessness' for children in decile 1-3 schools. The concept is the brainchild of author Alan Duff who saw that many students in low decile schools came from 'bookless' homes and showed little or no interest in reading.

Trevor Mallard said he visits too many homes where there is television but no books.

"If parents don't read books, it's not likely their kids will either. Reading is a key to learning. That's why we're giving children the chance to have some books to keep and take home."

The Ministry of Education contributes more than $1 million each year to the programme, which is also supported by more than 300 private sponsors. All decile 1-3 schools are eligible to join the programme. Every year children in the programme receive about five free books of their choice.

"This government is determined that every single New Zealander, regardless of their background, has the chance to reach their full potential. We want to improve literacy skills but also encourage kids to think of reading as a fun thing to do," Trevor Mallard said.

The Books in Homes programme is just one of a number of initiatives the government is supporting to improve the reading and writing skills of students. Attached is a list of government literacy initiatives, funded at $42 million a year.

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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