Labour: need reading recovery

Today David Shearer is announcing Labour education policy including on reading recovery:

Reading Recovery for all schools

The Labour Party is committing to roll out Reading Recovery to all schools.

Currently only two out of three schools offer the New Zealand-developed scheme, which has an 80 per cent success rate of lifting kids who fall behind in reading.  Just 59 per cent of low decile schools have Reading Recovery.

“Children who don’t learn to read are generally the ones who fall through the cracks and subsequently drop out of school. We can help those children, and we should.

“Having Reading Recovery in every school will mean all our kids will have the best chance to make the most of their education.

I didn’t realise it wasn’t available in all schools already, reading is the most funadamental of skills we should surely be ensuring all kids are effectively educated in.

There’s a bit of political palaver in his announcement but it links to a  factsheet gives a good overview including costings – an additional $20-40 million. That doesn’t seem much to address one of the most basic deficiencies in our education of children.

Here is the full factsheet:

Investing in Reading Recovery

The Issue
•     One in 12 New Zealand 9 year-olds don’t meet the lowest international benchmark for reading (as set by PIRLS).
•     This is worse than the international average of 1 in 17, with much worse rates for Māori and Pasifika students from poor schools, where 1 in 5 children don’t meet the benchmark. These low reading rates contribute to our long tail of underachievement.

Current Situation
•     The international ‘gold standard’ for helping children who fall behind in reading is Reading Recovery, developed right here in New Zealand by Marie Clay in the 1970s.
•     Yet Reading Recovery is not necessarily available to some of those who would most benefit from it in New Zealand.
•     It is actually offered in fewer poor schools than wealthier schools. Only 59% of low-decile schools have Reading Recovery compared with 73% of high-decile schools.
•     Māori students and Pasifika students were less likely to have Reading Recovery available in their school.
•     This is primarily a funding issue. The Ministry of Education only pays for half of the cost of Reading Recovery. Schools need to find the other half from their own budgets.
•     Poorer schools find it difficult to provide enough Reading Recovery places to meet student need, resulting in waiting lists or students missing out altogether.
•     Some schools therefore opt for other interventions, which cost less per student. But most principals in schools not offering Reading Recovery would do so if they could.
•     More needs to be done if we are to make this a genuine option for every school.

Labour’s Proposal
•     Labour intends to remove the barriers preventing schools – including many of those who need it the most – from offering Reading Recovery.
•     We will work with schools to determine a fair proportion of direct Ministry funding so all schools will be able to afford to offer Reading Recovery to all students who need it.
•     We want to lift the proportion of 6-year olds receiving Reading Recovery from 14% at present to at least 20% (the proportion that the programme has historically targeted and the estimated need).
•     This would suggest an additional 5,000 children a year benefiting from Reading Recovery each year, over and above the 11,000 currently receiving it.
•     We will also develop a parallel ‘maths recovery’ intervention, so that children struggling with basic numeracy skills can receive one-on-one assistance by age 7 or 8.

The Benefits
•     80% of the students who left Reading Recovery during 2010 had reached the reading level of their classroom peers.
•     A New Zealand Council for Educational Research evaluation found that Reading Recovery was effective for different students and in a range of contexts, with those who started off furthest behind making the greatest gains.

Cost
•     Labour’s proposal would lift the total cost of Reading Recovery to the education system from about $40 million to an estimated $60 million. It is likely that this additional $20 million would be met through direct government funding.
•     In addition, we will investigate whether some of the $20 million currently shared amongst schools should be funded directly by government.

Authorised by David Shearer, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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  1. Labour wants schools to become social welfare food banks « Your NZ

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