New role of the New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people announced
Jacinda Ardern annouces new youth reading ambassador
An intermediate school student has called on the education system to better share techniques to help kids learn to read and write.
Raroa Normal Intermediate student Ira Crampton, speaking to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Celebration of Reading event at the National Library in Wellington, said he was lucky to have a teacher who encouraged kids to be excited about reading and writing.
“Some kids in my classroom love reading even more than I do, but some do not. Great teachers like our Mr Johnston found ways of getting everybody excited about reading and writing.
“But not everyone has a Mr Johnston.”
He said if New Zealand wanted children to learn to read and write better, schools should share techniques.
“Every Kiwi could be as excited about reading and writing as those kids in Mr Johnston’s class.”
Crampton was one of four young people who detailed their experiences of reading and writing to the Prime Minister and internal affairs minister Tracey Martin at the event.
The Prime Minister said she noticed a theme among the speakers; they were influenced by others to read, and it provided a form of escapism.
“Particularly in the busy social media environment we have now, the ability to allow you to escape from yourself, from those around you, from your world, I don’t think we can underestimate how important that is. Books provide that escapism.”
The Prime Minister said the ability to escape into books was especially important in today’s busy world of social media.
She took the opportunity to announce a New Zealand Reading Ambassador, modelled on similar initiatives overseas, who will advocate for the promotion of reading in the lives of young people.
“We know from research that reading for pleasure makes a huge difference to a child’s wellbeing and their potential for life-long success - in personal relationships, education, health and employment.”
“The most recent OECD Programme for International Students assessment results also show a marked decline in reading for pleasure, with nearly half of New Zealand 15-year-olds never reading for enjoyment.
”This makes it important for us to find ways to support educators, families and whānau to build and sustain reading cultures in their communities, at the same time contributing to the Government’s wider efforts on child wellbeing and poverty reduction.”
She hoped the ambassador would be an advocate for New Zealand stories, including those told in te reo Māori.
The role will originally be funded on a part-time basis for two years, by the Te Puna Foundation.
TEXT FROM www.stuff.co.nz
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Photographs: MARK BEATTY/NATIONAL LIBRARY