A Better Start to Reading

“It’s fantastic to see research developed through our Challenge 10-year programme of research having such a positive impact on children’s learning across Aotearoa New Zealand,” says the Challenge Director Wayne Cutfield.

The A Better Start Literacy Approach was developed by our lead researchers within the Better Start National Science Challenge by Professors Gail Gillon and Brigid McNeill and is being widely praised with questions being raised as to why the approach isn’t being used in every school.

The Ministry of Education is funding Professors Gillon, McNeill and their team to deliver professional development and learning to new entrant year 1 and year 2 teachers, as well as for literacy specialists. The approach is currently being implemented in over 800 primary schools in all regions across New Zealand.

Watch interview with Senior Research Fellow Michael Johnston on the AM’s show with Ryan Bridge: CLICK HERE

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 in vocabulary skills and in 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. Go to the OFFICIAL WEBSITE CLICK HERE

Learn how to pre
vent reading problems in children and how to use the shared book reading context in the most effective way to support children’s early reading development. CLICK HERE

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