Look out for something new in school book bags
Dr Amy Scott gets excited when her five-year-old daughter Ivy brings home her book bag from school.
Dr Amy Scott, pictured with daughter Ivy, is the programme coordinator for an innovative new microcredential programme for teachers under the Better Start Literacy Approach.
Dr Scott is the programme coordinator for an innovative new microcredential programme that provides training for teachers and literacy specialists across the country in the Better Start Literacy Approach. Semester one has seen 450 teachers and literacy specialists participating, reaching more than 4500 tamariki in their first year of school. Funding is available for a further 600 teachers and specialists to begin the course in July.
The Better Start Literacy Approach is an integrated classroom literacy approach for tamariki in Years 0 and 1, developed by a team of researchers at University of Canterbury’s (UC) Child Well-being Research Institute. It teaches letter-sound knowledge, phonological awareness, oral language, word reading and spelling through fun, game-based activities. It also integrates the new Ready to Read – Phonics Plus early readers series, developed by UC Professors Alison Arrow, Gail Gillon, Brigid McNeill and Dr Amy Scott, and recently published by the Ministry of Education as part of its new Early Literacy Approach.
These early readers have also been developed by the UC research team for tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand, and form an important part of the Better Start Literacy Approach classroom teaching. They include beautiful illustrations of local flora and fauna, and New Zealand characters doing New Zealand things, like swimming sports, picking up rubbish at the local park and cheeky weka playing in the bush.
“It’s exciting for me to think about the enhancement to my daughter’s classroom literacy instruction, and particularly through a New Zealand-developed and researched programme,” says Dr Scott. “We know what works for New Zealand tamariki through our research trials with more than 1000 children, and I am really proud to be part something with such a strong evidence base.”