A Manawat? educator’s fresh approach is helping teachers become better equipped to turn children into good readers.
Liz Kane, who runs Liz Kane Literacy, is working in schools in the region and across the country to help teachers better teach children to read, write and spell. She also teaches them how to work with children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.
Kane, a former resource teacher, was worried about the huge number of children with dyslexia. She wanted to know what could be done at an early literacy level to help rectify it and researched how children learned to read and how it should be taught.
She promotes two key elements: the awareness of sounds in words, and the relationship between the 26 letters and those 44 sounds.
“More and more teachers are concerned with the high number of children who are struggling to learn to read and are seeking evidence-based research and that’s where I come in.
“I’m teaching the teachers so they can teach their students in a more explicit and systematic approach.”
She said teachers were horrified when she showed them how poorly Kiwi kids were performing in literary.
“Twenty-five per cent of kids are failing and they’re going to turn into secondary school kids and they’re going to turn into adults.”
Kane’s method is showing children small fragments at a time so they can learn how words work.
“If you can upskill the teacher, if they have the knowledge, they can disseminate the knowledge to all the kids in the classroom.”
That way children should be able to hear and identify the sounds in words and that’s something Kane wants children to be able to do from age 5.
One of the schools Kane has worked with is Hiwinui School.
Principal Brenda Leigh said they had been looking for years for a better way to teach literacy.
“It’s given the whole school the same language,” Leigh said. “It’s the culture of the school. We hear it everywhere we go, the children talking the same code.”
Teacher Fiona van den Brink said they were making connections they hadn’t before.
“I feel empowered because it’s opened up a whole new world. I’ve taught for long time and the children feel empowered.”
She said she wished she had the techniques 30 years ago.