Best practice for teaching Pacific learners

The NZ Ministry of Education has published (in July 2020) a 'Best practice for teaching Pacific learners: Pacific Evidence Brief 2019', available here.

Quoting from Education Counts here:

This Pacific Evidence Brief sets out what is known about what works and what does not work in supporting Pacific learners to succeed. This will inform ongoing efforts to enhance equity, excellence, belonging and wellbeing for Pacific learners through the education system.

Excerpts follow from Appendix 2: Case study - Reading Together® of the 'Best practice for teaching Pacific learners: Pacific Evidence Brief 2019', available here:


The Reading Together® programme helps parents and caregivers to more effectively support their children's reading at home. This matters because parent 'help' with children's reading if too pressured has long-term negative effects (Robinson, Hohepa and Lloyd, 2009). Such access matters particularly for Pacific children who international studies have shown to have had much lower access to books at home than other ethnic groups, and for greater access to Pacific languages resources.

". . . I was a bit sceptical in the beginning because I thought, how are they going to teach me to teach my kid to read? But I got heaps out of it. Heaps, heaps, heaps."
- Parent, Ministry of Education, 2019d

Sustaining families' ongoing access to a rich array of texts is enabled by partnering with community libraries.
". . . For lots of people, they can make a connection with their librarian once they've been in a few times and we get to know what they like, and we're able to make recommendations for people, but that relationship has to be built first, and that's why the Reading Together® programme is so good, because we get to connect with people who perhaps wouldn't have the confidence to step inside the doors to start off with."
- Community Librarian, Ministry of Education, 2019d

Reading Together® has proven effective with Pacific families

In 2017, a parent and teacher provided this feedback:

"The first thing that I learned from that session; reading should be fun. If I didn't come to that workshop I would be forcing every single word of the book to her and I don't think she will enjoy reading."

"The lasting impression that stayed with me from that workshop was a Mum who was really, really honest in our group, and she said that when she was a child learning to read that if she got it wrong she’d be smacked, and if she got it wrong a second time she’d be smacked again. And she admitted and was brave enough to share in this new group of parents, that she was doing the same to her children. She was using the strategies that she had learnt because of what she went through, but she was there in that workshop to learn something different, to try something different, and I really admired her for being so brave."


Reading Together® has been shown to have a significant and sustained positive impact on children's reading achievement and to support children's affective and social development. The programme is designed to build high trust connections between parents and teachers in ways that develop more culturally responsive teaching.

More information:

Posted: Thursday 23 July 2020