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Literacy Week: Schools celebrate reading and writing

Tuesday 6 September 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National


Literacy Week: Schools celebrate reading and writing
Reading is fun for Inano Pita and Teina Pierre. 22090506

Apii Avarua students settled comfortably under the shade of a large mango tree yesterday for a “buddy class reading” session to start off the Literacy Week.

Literacy is most commonly defined as the ability to read and write. Reading and writing abilities vary across different cultures and contexts, and these too are constantly shifting.

Cook Islands schools are holding Literacy Week from September 5 to 9 to celebrate literacy as the foundation of all learning with a range of activities. This year’s International Literacy Day on September 8th will be celebrated worldwide under the theme, “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces”.

At Apii Avarua yesterday the Year 5 and 6 students were randomly paired up – where one reads while the other listens for the buddy reading programme.

Eleven year olds Esther Tautateopu and Ngavai Mataio paired up to read to one another and both girls were happy to take their studies outdoors.

“I love reading because there is a lot of new things to learn from books and reading is good for writing. It also helps me settle down after play time,” said Mataio.

Young boys Teariki Amiri and Ngametua Matangaro both like reading books.

Amiri prefers to read books that are useful.

“Reading helps me in my school work, and I really like books that can show me how to do things – like fishing, because I like fishing and want to know more,” said Amiri.

In the morning the students had focused on poetry and narrative writing before the classes merged for the buddy reading system.

Teachers Rangi Cowan and Cecilia Vostock shared the students appreciated being outdoors to read – a change from their normal classroom studies.

Ways to encourage and support literacy learning at home are: Read with and to your children, Tell stories, legends, myths, rhymes, Discuss the world around you, Let your children see you read, Ask questions about stories your children are reading, discuss the words used, Encourage your children to write their own stories, Count the number of sounds in words, Count the number of syllables in words, Clap rhythms with your children, get them to clap them back.

Activities at schools organised during this week will include: door decoration day (favourite books, characters), themed/favourite character dress up day, buddy class reading, Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), composing poems, chants and rhymes, library challenges, parent/anau reading in classes, Cook Island authors day, crazy hat day, book reviews, and celebrating New Zealand author Joy Cowley.

Cook Island stories and legends will be recorded and played on the radio every morning in Maori and English by Ministry of Education advisors who will also be visiting schools to video and photograph activities taking place.

Support your children and school over this week, as they celebrate reading, writing and speaking in Maori and English.