Transforming how our children learn to read

Structured literacy will change the way New Zealand children learn to read - improving achievement and setting students up for success, Education Minister Erica Stanford says.

“Being able to read and write is a fundamental life skill that too many young people are missing out on. Recent data shows that just 56 per cent of Year 8 students are at the expected level for reading, and just 35 per cent for writing,” Ms Stanford says.

“Domestic and international evidence shows this method is the most effective way of equipping children with strong reading skills that are critical for their futures.

“A number of schools in New Zealand are already teaching structured literacy and have experienced significant improvements in student achievement. I want all children to have this opportunity.

“That is why, beginning in Term 1 2025, all state schools will teach reading using the proven structured literacy approach.

“Structured Literacy is about getting back to basics and teaching children to read by using sounds and phonics to understand words.

“This Government has set an ambitious target of getting 80 per cent of Year 8 students to curriculum level by 2030, and teaching structured literacy is a critical part of how we plan to get there.”

The rollout includes a $67 million commitment as part of Budget 2024 to support:

  • Professional development on structured literacy for teachers.
  • Books and resources for schools and teachers.
  • Introducing phonics checks to assess student progression.
  • Additional support for students that need it.

“Structured literacy goes hand-in-hand with our requirement for schools to teach an hour a day of reading, writing and maths, as well as implementing a curriculum that is rich in knowledge and clear about what students should be learning and when.

“Today’s funding announcement ensures teachers will receive the training, support and resources they need to deliver this.

“Our teachers are amazing and we are supporting them to deliver improved outcomes in reading and writing.”