New Zealand’s education watchdog has hailed the success of a Tamahere School reading programme to educators nationwide.
The Education Review Office (ERO) has featured the school’s innovative library-based programme for Year 5 to 8 students as a top example of effectiveness in keeping children engaged and achieving in reading.
This week the school said it was proud to see the ERO celebrate its reading success “and our wonderful librarian, Mrs Theresa Kewish.”
“Reading proficiency provides a doorway into the world. Children’s success in all learning is largely the consequence of effective literacy teaching,” the ERO said in the Exemplar Review.
It highlighted how well-planned library activities at Tamahere School introduced reluctant readers to text that matched their chronological ages and interests, and gave them strategies to succeed.
Diana Anderson, the ERO’s Deputy Chief Executive Review and Improvement, noted that “children enthusiastically talked to ERO about the reading tasks that contributed to their success.
“They liked having choices about texts and activities. They also appreciated when the tasks were interesting and complex enough to challenge them. Some children particularly liked the competitive nature of things like book challenges or online programmes where they could compete against themselves.”
Anderson reported that Tamahere School’s board of trustees funded 18 hours a week for a qualified librarian as part of its commitment to developing successful readers.
“Two of the activities the librarian helped with were directed at fostering children’s love of reading. The first specifically supported reluctant readers and the second encouraged children to read over the holidays.”
One hurdle the librarian helped the students overcome was picking books from the large number on display, which every student felt overwhelmed by.
“I ask them, ‘when you come into the library and you’re asked to choose a book, do you feel like there are too many books?’ Astonishingly every single one of them says yes. Then we talk about what they like to do and what they don’t like, and if they’ve liked any particular books.”
The librarian talked to them about their interests and reminded them of the areas and ways books are stored in the library. She then developed a ‘Reading Advisory’ list of books for each child based on their preferences.
The ERO ended the review with a call for other schools to follow the Tamahere example in order to improve their performance.
Read more about librarian Theresa Kewish, her love of books and her classic, yellow 1980 Mini here.