Building bookworms: more than 100 teachers bind together to improve literacy

Spending time in the library are year 8 Oamaru Intermediate School pupils (from left) Cole...
Spending time in the library are year 8 Oamaru Intermediate School pupils (from left) Cole Stenton, Neiko Greaney, Ava French, Nehu Ika, Kerah Neill and Hollie Drummond, all 12. PHOTO: WYATT RYDER
More than 100 Oamaru teachers have been meeting regularly to discuss pupils’ needs, resulting in literacy improvements across the town.

The initiative is run by Waitaki Ara Kāhui Ako, a local collective of learning including Fenwick School, Te Pākihi o Maru, Oamaru Intermediate School, Waitaki Boys’ High School and Waitaki Girls’ High School.

Twice every term teachers from the schools meet to discuss the literacy needs of pupils across Waitaki.

Waitaki Ara Kāhui Ako across school lead teacher Victoria Forrest said the effects of the initiative were already being seen.

Since it began at the start of the year pupils appeared more engaged and had a better level of understanding.

The group of about 120 teachers met to determine what actions they would collectively take to improve the literacy level across the schools.

It was the small things that contributed to progress, such as using the same terminology between schools so pupils were not confused as they grew up and changed schools.

The goal was not to increase workload for pupils, but to instead ensure teachers were doing the best work they could.

There was a gap in literacy among young pupils and working together to address the problem was an effective way to understand and meet their needs.