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Kiwi kids' reading levels slide to record low

8th Dec 2017

“The latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls), the first since the creation of national standards in 2010, shows that New Zealand has slipped 10 places from 22nd out of 41 countries in 2011 to 32nd out of 50 last year.

Australia, Austria, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain have all overtaken New Zealand, and five new countries with children reading above NZ levels ave come into the survey for the first time.

Children in the highest socio-economic group also dropped much more sharply (down 13 points) than children in the middle group (down 3 points) or the poorest group (down 5 points).

A teacher at Three Kings School in Auckland, Jane Martin, said there was a noticeable decline in oral language in children starting school at 5.

“Parents are not talking to kids like they used to,” she said. ”You have parents sitting in silence on their cellphones, and the children all have phones at a younger age, so they are not so engaged in conversation. You have time-poor parents perhaps not reading to their children at night.”

Simon Collins, Education Reporter, NZ Herald.

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