SharpReading BLOG

Thoughts About Teaching Reading


We need a new approach - "52% of 15 year-olds only read if they have to!"

Christine Braid, Professional Learning and Development Facilitator in Literacy Education, Massey University, has just published a new article (21 Aug, 2020) entitled 'Young New Zealander's are turning off reading in record numbers - we need a new approach to teaching literacy.'  New data suggests that this is an urgent problem. According to a recent report from the Education Ministry’s chief education science adviser, 52% of 15-year-olds now say they read only if they have to – up from 38% in 2009.

The article goes on to cite a Massey University study in 2019 which found that reading outcomes improved when teachers were trained in a 'structured approach' to teaching reading as opposed to an 'implicit approach'. Structured literacy teaching means the knowledge and skills for reading are explicitly taught in a sequence, from simple to more complex, while an implicit approach essentially means children have lots of opportunities to read and learn along the way with teacher guidance.

SharpReading has been promoting the explicit teaching of reading skills for the last 15 years and the schools we have worked with in that time have all testified to significant, sometimes off the charts improvement in student achievement in reading as a result of the adoption of our structured SharpReading approach. Click on the following links for school endorsementsand achievement datafrom a wide diversity of schools in NZ, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Now we all know that 2020 has been a very challenging time and, as we found here in Christchurch with the earthquakes in 2011, in challenging times making changes to the way we do things tends to slip off the radar. But this too will pass and maybe now is the time to start making plans for 2021.

While Teacher Only Days and even PD Workshops have all but disappeared in 2020, we want to remind you that our ONLiNE Courses are always available as a high quality training alternative that you can chip away at in your own time and at your own pace.

Principals and literacy leaders - test the waters. Encourage some of your staff to sign up for our ONLiNE Courses (see details below) and find out if this is something that you want to invest in school-wide. Check out the school-wide systems we have in place to make this work in your school.

Need an 'event' to get you going?
We have scheduled Start-Up Webinars  where you can spend a few hours in the comfort of your own home with a cup of tea in your hand and get yourself off to a flying start with what might be 'a new approach to reading instruction.'


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