10 Two other reading approaches

During our visits to the schools, ERO evaluators talked to children and parents. We heard about the two different strategies from them.

The first is an online reading opportunity to engage with books and other New Zealand children who were reading the same books.

The second school had many volunteers helping children with their reading.

The strategies the school used to attract the volunteers and the training they provided are shared here.

Online book club

One school had recently joined Chapter Chat. Children were highly motivated to read something that other New Zealand children were reading. Here is the information the school shared about Chapter Chat with parents.

Room 20 is joining Chapter Chat!

This term Room 20 is very excited to be joining Chapter Chat, a twitter-based book chat for New Zealand students in Year 3-4 and 5-6.

Chapter Chat is run by two NZ teachers whose aim is to generate discussion around books and foster a love of reading. Each week we will be reading part of a specific book and completing tasks based on the chapter.  On Fridays we will be joining other NZ students on Twitter to share our work and discuss the chapter we have read. As well as encouraging a love of reading, Chapter Chat also provides a great opportunity to learn about good social media etiquetter and practise using social media in a postitive way.

This term we will be reading Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson. We will also be sharing our work on our student blogs, so make sure you check on our learning from time to time!

Here are some of the children’s thoughts about the book they had read recently were published on the class blog.

This is a photo of the students thought of how they enjoyed the book Ms. Bixby's Last Day.

Community volunteers helping children to read

The second school had a large number of adults and students from the community helping children to read. The school had a high percentage of Pacific children attending for whom English was their second language.

A previous principal, who had started the programme six years ago, led the volunteer programme. The principal had read about positive results for Pacific students in other schools using a similar approach with parent volunteers.

The school had advertised widely for volunteers. Notices asking for volunteers to help with children’s reading were placed in the school’s newsletter, a local high school’s newsletter and a community newsletter. When ERO visited the school, over 80 volunteers had been warmly welcomed and were supporting children’s reading. Many of the volunteers didn’t have children attending the school.

A coordinator trained all the volunteers and kept in contact with them. The training emphasised the following:

  • Pause, prompt, praise
  • a focus on fluency to help get the child’s reading to sound like talking
  • looking at the initial sound of the word to then think about a word that would fit
  • thinking about the meaning of some words.

The volunteers used notebooks and/or monitoring sheets to record what the child had read and what they had focused on.

ERO spoke with some of the volunteers and found they were keen to develop a positive relationship with the child and to see them achieve success.

“People want to help; they just need to know how. If I can change one child’s life, that’s awesome.”

“We build a good relationship with children that sometimes spills over into areas other than reading. One child I worked with came when others in her class had gone swimming. When I asked her why she didn’t go swimming she told me she didn’t have any togs. I asked the principal, at the school my children go to, to put a notice in their newsletter asking for togs for kids at another school. We got lots that I brought to this school.”

Two of the volunteers

The school’s community collaborations enriched opportunities for students to become successful learners.

Linking the narratives to the School Evaluation Indicators

The table below cross-references the eight narratives to the relevant indicators from ERO’s School Evaluation Indicators. Leaders can use the table to facilitate discussion about the variety of effective practices found in the different narratives. Where leaders, teaching teams or teachers are currently focusing their attention on a particular domain, they can use the table to select narratives that feature effective practices in that domain

Domain School evaluation indicators Narrative
Stewardship The board scrutinises the effectiveness of the school in achieving valued student outcomes 5
Leadership for excellence and equity Leaders collaboratively develop and pursue the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence

1, 2, 4, 5, 6,

7, 8
Leaders ensure effective planning, coordination and evaluation of the school’s curriculum and teaching 1, 2, 5, 8
Leaders promote and participate in professional learning and practice 1, 4, 8
Leaders build collective capacity in evaluation and inquiry for sustained improvement 2, 3, 4, 6, 8
Leaders build relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school 7, 10
Educationally powerful connections and relationships School and community are engaged in reciprocal learning-centred relationships 7
Communication supports and strengthens reciprocal, learning-centred relationships 10
Student learning at home is actively promoted through the provision of relevant learning opportunities, resources and support 1, 3, 7
Community collaboration enriches opportunities for students to become confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners 10
Responsive curriculum, effective teaching and opportunity to learn Students participate and learn in caring, collaborative, inclusive learning communities 2, 3
Students have effective, sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn

1, 2 ,3 ,4, 5,

6, 7, 8, 9
Effective and culturally responsive pedagogy supports and promotes student learning 2
Assessment for learning develops students’ assessment and learning-to- learn capabilities 1, 4, 6, 7
Professional capability and collective capacity Systematic, collaborative inquiry processes and challenging professional learning opportunities align with the school vision, values, goals and targets 1, 5
Organisational structures, processes and practices enable and sustain collaborative learning and decision making

1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

6, 7, 8
Access to relevant expertise builds capability for ongoing improvement and innovation

1, 2, 4, 5,

6, 8
Evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building for improvement and innovation Coherent organisational conditions promote evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building 1, 5, 8
Collective capacity to do and use evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building sustains improvement and innovation

1, 2, 4, 6,

7, 8