Professor Brigid McNeill from the University of Canterbury and A Better Start Literacy Approach joined RNZ’s The Panel to talk about improving literacy levels in Aotearoa New Zealand’s tamariki.
The Better Start Literacy Approach is a structured approach to literacy instruction for Year 0 to Year 2 classrooms, to support children’s early reading, writing, and oral language success. It has been developed by our team specifically for our New Zealand educational and cultural context and controlled research trials have proven its effectiveness. It includes the systematic teaching of critical phonological awareness skills and letter sound knowledge skills through fun, games-based activities, activities making explicit links to the reading and spelling context, and structured small group reading sessions using the new Ready to Read – Phonics Plus early readers series.
In addition, the approach includes explicit teaching of vocabulary skills and building children’s oral narrative and listening comprehension skills through quality children’s story books. The Better Start Literacy Approach follows a structured phonics scope and sequence that is used in the class and small group reading teaching.
Professor Bridgid McNeill is a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) at the University of Canterbury and part of A Better Start – National Science Challenge.