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New research shows reading being taught well

2 March 2005

New research shows reading being taught well in New Zealand schools

New research shows reading is being taught well in New Zealand schools, especially in the early years.

Quality of Teaching in Years 4 and 8: Reading is the latest report in the Education Review Office’s (ERO) series of evaluations of the quality of teaching in schools. ERO evaluated the quality of teaching for reading at 112 schools during Term 3, 2004.

ERO found nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of all schools in the sample were "effective" or "highly effective" in the design and implementation of their reading programmes. ERO found that teachers of Year 4 students performed better in some areas than those who taught reading to Year 8 classes (12-13 year old students).

Minister responsible for ERO, David Benson-Pope, says the findings of this report are very encouraging.

"Overall it appears that students not only enjoy and participate in reading but their teachers provide them with real and meaningful opportunities for success in reading," says Mr Benson-Pope. "But we cannot afford to get complacent or let up – we need to retain the focus on teaching reading right through primary school.

"We know how important it is for children to be able to read well. It’s important for their future learning and for jobs they might want to do. More than that, reading gives them a wonderful source of enjoyment that enriches their lives and expands their whole world."

The report also discusses the way technology and electronic media are used in reading programmes. In our best schools teachers are using information and communication technologies (ICT) to extend children’s learning, through the internet and through on-line resources.

ERO reported that: students in most schools had frequent opportunities for learning in reading; most students participated in interesting and challenging reading programmes; many teachers were very knowledgeable about the teaching of reading and provided programmes that met the needs of their students in reading; comprehensive and detailed assessment information on student achievement in reading was gathered by many teachers and analysed to identify students’ learning needs; in most schools, the content of the reading programme was clearly linked to English in the New Zealand Curriculum and had appropriate sequences and coherent progression over time; and a wide range of appropriate texts was used effectively to enhance reading programmes.

Based on the findings of the evaluation, ERO recommended that focus for continued development be on: supporting teachers of Year 8 students in planning and teaching high quality reading programmes; increasing the use of ICT and electronic media in reading programmes to extend students’ opportunities for problem solving and creative thinking with these tools; identifying the learning needs of the diverse range of students within classes and adapting the programme and teaching strategies to meet these needs; expanding the opportunities provided to students to evaluate and regulate their own learning; and using student achievement information in reading to inform curriculum review and decisions about policies and resources.

The ERO study was designed to complement the Ministry of Education’s National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP), which focuses on student achievement in reading.

The report is available on ERO’s website: www.ero.govt.nz.

ENDS

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