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Associate Education Minister Dr Pita Sharples welcomes the belated interest of the Labour Party in the Government’s decision to increase funding to reading programmes in primary schools.
“Labour’s leader may not realise that the 2011 Budget allocated $6.5 million to expand family-based literacy programmes to all decile one, two and three schools, building on the Reading Together programme.
“This was a Budget decision won by the Māori Party, at a time of financial constraints, which represents a significant investment in our children. ‘Reading Together’ looks at reading as a whānau issue and it gets great results because whānau and schools work together, said Dr Sharples.
“Manurewa Central School adopted the Reading Together programme, and found it so successful they decided to promote it to other schools. The parents made a video, talking about how good they found it, and that is shown to other parent groups who are considering the programme.
“I was really blown away by the stories the families told, that helping their children become keen readers had made a huge difference to the whole whānau. This is obviously a whānau-centred approach to literacy and reading that can avoid the need for more costly Reading Recovery after children are found to be struggling,” he said.
“Literacy and reading skills are critically important to education, and the future of our whānau, and I welcome interest and support from across the political spectrum. As whānau and schools have found, we will get the best results for our kids if all parties can agree and work together to support programmes that support whānau,” said Dr Sharples.