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Reading Together project

School-initiated supplementary supports

Design elements

 Target for support (strengths and needs)

  • Priority is given to all decile 1–5 schools (English medium and including students in any of years 1–8). Consideration is given to the inclusion of a limited number of decile 6+ schools, particularly where there is a significant number of priority student groups and a strong rationale for the RT programme.
  • A focus on engaging students through improving educationally powerful relationships with parents/whānau.
  • Students requiring an acceleration of reading levels and associated focus on reading to learn.
  • RT needs to be considered alongside other literacy support available and complements, rather than replaces, effective classroom teaching.

Expected outcomes

30,000 parents/whānau engage in effectively run Reading Together workshops across 2012 to 2016, run by schools participating in the Ministry Reading Together project – effectively run workshops will lead to:

  • children gaining a year’s normal development in their reading levels in 12 weeks from the first workshop
  • gains being sustained over time
  • gains spreading to older siblings
  • parents/whānau gaining competence in helping their children’s reading at home
  • stronger learning partnerships between parents/children/schools
  • children more effectively engaged in their learning across the curriculum.

What data is used to support access decision?

  • National Standards and other information about individual schools.
  • Decile ranking of schools. 

Delivery design (who, how long, interactions)

The Reading Together programme involves schools facilitating a series of four workshops over seven weeks for a group of up to 15 parents/whānau.

The school links with the local/community library and an associated child attends the second workshop with the adult. The Biddulph Group has registered the Reading Together programme and owns all the associated intellectual property. The participant schools access the theory and methodology of the Reading Together programme via the Reading Together workshop leader’s handbook and an online support desk. The Ministry runs a briefing meeting for participant schools, with the Ministry input focused on the system support available, the key partnerships required, and the critical success factors.

Support to Reading Together project schools includes:

  • the Ministry briefing
  • provision of the handbook and the parents’ resources associated with the programme
  • access to an online support desk service provided by the Biddulph Group (not operational March 2017 and until further notice)
  • $1475 (GST excl) per school towards teacher release time
  • funding of up to $1800 (GST excl) for whānau engagement support
  • provision of relevant professional readings
  • engagement with Ministry personnel
  • provision on application of $624 to support second or further workshop series.

How will the support contribute to classroom practice (tier 1) and school capability?

Research evidence is clear that effectively implemented Reading Together workshops:

  • complement good classroom practice
  • increase the school's capability at building/supporting parents/whānau as learning partners.

How will the support contribute to building educationally powerful relationships with parents, whānau/family, hapu, iwi, and community?

Centre stage for the Reading Together programme is building the capacity and capability of parents/whānau to add huge value to children’s reading, reading for learning and engagement in learning. Building children’s confidence and joy in reading and learning becomes a shared task between the parent/whānau, child, school and classroom teacher. There is strong evidence, from the Reading Together research, that Reading Together builds a strong and enduring partnership between the school and parents/whānau. Subsequent support for the school and engagement with the school by the participant parents/whānau is considerably strengthened. This includes parents/whānau who previously had minimal or no engagement with the school. Schools that have embedded the Reading Together programme in their practice cite this as one of the most valued outcomes.

Fidelity elements (small groups, one on one, timing)

The following are identified from the research evidence as the critical success factors for implementing the Reading Together programme effectively:

  • Effective parent/whānau engagement.
  • A strength based approach.
  • A partnership/collaborative approach.
  • Engaged and supportive school leadership.
  • All teachers as allies – a joined up approach.
  • Reading Together is implemented as intended.
  • The expertise/qualities of the workshop leaders.
  • Accessing appropriate reading material.
  • Plan for easy accessibility to workshops for parents/whānau.

How is support monitored and measured by schools in terms of outcomes?

  • Schools collect attendance data to identify that the programme addresses the needs of priority learners and that attendance patterns reflect inclusive facilitation that is culturally appropriate.
  • Schools use the evaluation form provided within the Reading Together programme to collect qualitative feedback from participants.
  • Schools analyse the impact of the Reading Together programme on outcomes for students through National Standards data and measures of student engagement, requiring a level of comparative analysis of outcomes for students who are Reading Together “beneficiaries” versus outcomes for other students.

What needs to be sustained?

Schools need to build Reading Together workshops into the annual cycle of the school, with targeting of all new enrolments being considered an optimal approach for sustainability – ensuring over time that all parents are therefore beneficiaries of the workshops.

Roles and responsibilities for the support

What are the conditions for successful delivery?


Biddulph Group – Reading Together is a registered programme and the Biddulph Group provides the workshop leader’s handbook, the parents’ resources, and the online support desk (not operational March 2017 and until further notice).


  • The school leads the process of inviting parents/whānau to attend the workshops.
  • The school facilitates the four Reading Together workshops. Culturally appropriate and inclusive practice is required along with literacy/reading expertise
  • The school needs to ensure the enduring partnership is one between the learner, the parent/whānau, and the classroom teacher.
  • The school needs to link with the local library to ensure the library supports the workshops.


  • Provision of a briefing to Reading Together project schools that outlines the critical success factors, the system support, and the priority partnerships.
  • Negotiation with individual schools about the funding support provided for whānau engagement.
  • Engaging in learning conversations in an ongoing manner.
  • Integrating Reading Together into all SP&R interaction and other engagement with the schools.
  • Monitoring outcomes and ensuring schools provide the completed reporting template, that this is passed to the project manager and that the school and the regional/local office use the reports as part of the self-review and evaluation of the Reading Together project in their own context.

Updated on: 25 Aug 2014

PLD is changing

Professional Learning and Development is changing

Professional Learning And Development (PLD) is changing – What it is focused on, who delivers it, and how schools, kura and CoL can access it.

Inital changes are rolling out now.

To find the latest information about the new PLD system go to http://services.education.govt.nz/PLD

System of support

Identifying learning needs. Resource selector. Impact of changed practices. Designing learning for school context. Integrated system of support for students. Achievement information triggers response.