Media Releases

Mandated single approach to reading will not work

02 May 2024

The union for primary teachers, NZEI Te Riu Roa, says it’s risky for politicians to be mandating a single approach to the art of teaching reading.

The Minister of Education, Erica Stanford, has announced that as of Term 1 2025, all teachers in state schools will be required to teach reading using the structured literacy method.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Mark Potter says that while structured literacy has its uses, it is not a silver bullet for teaching children to read.

"There is recent evidence for structured literacy working for many children, but the research also shows that personalising and differentiating learning to meet the diversity of children we have in our classrooms is the key art teachers bring to their work.

“Teaching is an art and a craft, not just a science. A teacher knows what teaching approach will work best for the variety of learners in their classroom. Mandating a one-size-fits-all to curriculum does not work.

“We don’t expect politicians to tell doctors exactly what to prescribe for every patient, and politicians reaching into every classroom and telling every teacher how to teach every child undermines the professionalism of teachers.”