The provision, practice and policies of early literacy in New Zealand

Authored by: Stuart McNaughton , Rebecca Jesson

The Routledge International Handbook of early Literacy Education

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138787889
eBook ISBN: 9781315766027
Adobe ISBN: 9781317659204


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New Zealand has a history of high engagement in literacy practices. Historical record shows very early adoption of literacy by Ma-ori (the indigenous population), and an enthusiastic tribally based teaching programme, which meant that by the later 1800s over half of adult Ma-ori could read in their own language (Simon, 1998). By the 1990s when the first of the international comparisons of literacy achievement across countries took place, New Zealand 9-year-olds and 14-year-olds were ranked highly (Elley, 1992), and this has been attributed to the presence of widespread literacy practices and high volumes of reading among both adults and students (Guthrie, 1981).

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