About 21,500 bright eyed, excitedly nervous five year olds head off each year for their first day at Auckland schools. Healthy, confident ones with support from home and with strong oral language skills and a few pre-literacy skills will do well. Our Strategic Analyst, Alison Sutton, embarked on a cross-continent trip to learn more about oracy and what’s working overseas. Here is an excerpt of her thought-provoking blog post on her travels, lessons, and what we can do here in Aotearoa to improve oracy for kids:

But for many, starting school is hard. Some don’t have the language skills they need because there wasn’t much talking or much reading at home. Others may be new to learning English. Children whose parents have low literacy are much more likely to struggle to learn to read – and it’s learning to read easily and early that is the key to education success later.

With this on-going intergenerational literacy challenge in mind, I embarked on my month-long Winston Churchill Fellowship. I visited towns where early learning, schools, community groups, employers and local councils are coming together to raise literacy levels. I was lucky enough to visit nine different organisations and programmes in eight towns and cities. 

Three key themes stood out for me:

  • Improving reading is being positioned as an important way out of poverty
  • Raising literacy takes more than schools
  • Health is a major driver for improving literacy

To read Alison’s full article on her reflections and recommendations on oracy, head to the COMET Auckland WordPress blog

If you would like to know more about literacy across Auckland or want to be part of a new collaboration contact Alison or tweet her via @AlisonJSutton

To access this article, or to read about more of the projects we are involved in, please click here to check out the full May 2015 Newsletter.


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