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Professional Books: Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1-4

Effective Literacy Practice Years 1-4

by Ministry of Education, Wellington, New Zealand

2003 pb 200 pages
Item #539
ISBN 0-478-12940-3978

This literacy resource from the New Zealand Ministry of Education draws on international research and describes in plain language the best practices for increasing kindergarten to third-grade students’ literacy achievement. Explore effective reading and writing instruction in the first four years of school through case studies, examples of student work, and transcripts of teacher-student interaction. 

It is what teachers actually do, moment by moment in their classrooms, that makes a difference to student achievement. This book identifies and describes the features of literacy teaching practice that are clearly linked by research to improved outcomes for students.

Call for a copy of the discussion guide that accompanies this book (800/336-5588 M-F 9:00-5:00 EST). Or submit a Contact Form

Other Books by The Author

  • Reading in Junior Classes
  • Reading for Life
  • Dancing with the Pen


by Howard Fancy
Secretary of Education

Ensuring that all students achieve good strengths in literacy is critical to their subsequent success in education and throughout their lives. Increasing the effectiveness of teaching practice in this critical area is therefore a priority. This publication is an important contribution to increasing the range of quality resources information available to teachers. It has been designed as the key reference for professional development programmes as well as providing a platform for further materials to support literacy teaching and learning in classrooms. It builds from the work of the 1998 Government-appointed Literacy Taskforce. This Taskforce provided advice that was a key input into the development of the Literacy Numeracy Strategy.

The Literacy Taskforce focused on ways to ensure that all children receive the best possible teaching in the first four years at school. Included in its report were recommendations that:

  • A statement of best practice be drawn up and promulgated to schools. This statement should also guide the Ministry of Education’s development and distribution of curriculum materials for both children and teachers and guide schools’ purchases of materials.
  • Reading in Junior Classes be revised.

Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1-4 has been developed in response to those recommendations and is integral to the ongoing implementation of the Government’s Literacy Strategy.

During the development of this handbook, surveys of research have highlighted the extent to which effective teaching practice influences learning outcomes. It is now very clear that effective teaching is the single largest system influence on the achievement of all students. In order to be as effective as possible, teachers need access to quality resources and information.

Research also highlights a number of important dimensions that contribute to effective teaching practice. The Statement of effective literacy practice that this book articulates is informed by evidence. It focuses on those dimensions of effective practice that are identified in both New Zealand and international studies. 

I would like to thank all those people who have been involved in producing this handbook. The process of development and consultation has involved many teachers, academics, researchers, and policy makers. The result is a handbook that links literacy teaching practice and learning process, providing advice that we can be confident will lead to improved outcomes for students.

Howard Fancy
Secretary of Education

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Focus on Effective Practice

Chapter 2: Knowledge of Literacy Learning

Chapter 3: Knowledge of the Learner

Chapter 4: Instructional Strategies

Chapter 5: Engaging Learners with Texts

Chapter 6: Expectations

Chapter 7: Partnerships

Chapter Effective Programmes