Shine project an ed­u­ca­tion break­through

Read­ing into the fu­ture

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON McCON­NELL

It started with con­cern over new en­trants’ lit­er­acy skills at Ti­tahi Bay School.

Now three years on the Shine Porirua Lit­er­acy Project has been so suc­cess­ful it is be­ing tri­aled at schools around Porirua.

Ti­tahi Bay School prin­ci­pal Kerry De­laney said the school de­cided to start do­ing things dif­fer­ently af­ter teach­ers no­ticed new en­trants were not meet­ing the ex­pected lit­er­acy lev­els.

‘‘ What we needed to do was change our teach­ers, not the kids,’’ she said.

Lit­er­acy fa­cil­i­ta­tor Joy All­cock was called in, and she be­gan work­ing with the teach­ers to in­crease lit­er­acy lev­els.

Mrs De­laney said the re­sult was in­cred­i­ble.

In 2009, about 60 per cent of pupils at the decile 3 school were meet­ing na­tional ex­pec­ta­tions. At the end of 2012, 80 to 90 per cent were at the na­tional stan­dard or above.

This year the project is be­ing ex­tended to in­clude 21 Porirua schools and 500 pupils.

Ms All­cock said the re­search project was very im­por­tant be­cause the early stages of a child’s learn­ing set them up for the fu­ture.

‘‘If chil­dren have not learnt to read well by the age of 8, they rarely catch up with their peers,’’ she said.

The Porirua woman said the project fo­cused on teach­ing lan­guage and sounds first rather than letters.

‘‘We are start­ing with what chil­dren al­ready know,’’ Ms All­cock said.

‘‘We are teach­ing that words have a sound and sounds have letters.

‘‘This starts with what ev­ery­body can do so no­body gets left be­hind.’’

Ms All­cock said there was not one method for the lit­er­acy project.

It was based on the same prin­ci­pals, but al­lowed free­dom for teach­ers.

‘‘If you walked into the class­rooms you would think they were teach­ing dif­fer­ent things,’’ she said.

Ms All­cock vol­un­tar­ily gives her time to the project, but said fund­ing was be­ing sought to pay in­de­pen­dent re­searchers to col­lect the data.

‘‘So we can say we didn’t cook the books. This is a real thing.’’

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