Shine project an education breakthrough
Reading into the future
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.’’