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Selecting texts for students in years 4–8

Welcome to The New Zealand Curriculum Update

Curriculum Updates support school leaders and teachers as they work to design and review their school curriculum in line with the New Zealand Curriculum and with current knowledge and understandings about effective classroom teaching.

Curriculum Updates are published in the Education Gazette and are available online.

This Update introduces the new guidelines Selecting Texts for Students in Years 4 to 8.

Two students reading.

One of the most important tasks for teachers is selecting appropriate texts to use with their students.

Teachers need to choose tasks and texts that will reflect their students’ lived experiences and support their development of literacy as they develop the knowledge and understandings required in the various areas of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The New Zealand Curriculum Reading and Writing Standards for Years 1–8, page 7

When selecting texts for learning across the curriculum, a key consideration is the relative difficulty of the text for your students. Many series, such as the instructional series provided by the Ministry of Education, are accompanied by information on reading year levels.

However, when teachers are selecting texts from a wide range of sources, many of the texts will not come with this information. The guidelines Selecting Texts for Students in Years 4 to 8 have been developed to help teachers make judgments about the relative difficulty and approximate reading year level of such texts.

The guidelines include a framework designed to help teachers select texts at an appropriate level of difficulty and to identify the characteristics likely to challenge or support learners. A completed example of the framework can be found on the "Framework for estimating text difficulty" page in this Update.

When selecting texts, teachers will draw on the dimensions of effective literacy practice. In this Update, "Text selection and the dimensions of literacy learning" discusses the dimensions and matching texts to readers in more detail.

Download the full print version: Issue 19: April 2012 (PDF, 2 MB)