Today I accepted a petition from parents and children with dyslexia on early reading instruction and how we can ensure children with learning difficulties get the best support possible, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“The petition calls for legislation requiring all new entrant and Year 1 teachers to be trained in explicit and systematic phonics instruction, so that they can teach all children to read effectively and efficiently, including all dyslexic students.
“Academics and experts have advocated for phonemic awareness and word identification skills, which includes phonics teaching as a key part of beginning reading instruction. These foundation skills should be taught as part of a structured literacy approach, as they are founded on the science of reading. It’s also important to understand that not all phonics teaching is equally effective.
“In our Education Discussion Document National identified providing more support for children with complex needs, such as those with dyslexia or other learning challenges, as a key education priority.
“We have previously said supporting children with complex needs is not just about additional funding, it is about reforming the system itself to ensure there is greater collaboration between our health and education system.
“This petition is asking us to sit at the table and discuss the need for evidence-based educational reform in the early years of reading instruction.
“We want all New Zealanders to be given the best possible chance to acquire the literacy and numeracy skills that will set them up for success later in life. This petition advocates for supporting every child from day one of their school experience, rather than waiting for reading failure before stepping in. This, of course, includes supporting our teachers and schools to be able to deliver on this vision.
“I am proud to accept this petition. National is aspirational for New Zealanders, we want to ensure every young child has the support they need to thrive and become healthy, skilled and motivated learners. This petition is the first step.”