There is a significant body of international research indicating that reading instruction does not consistently occur in the final years of primary schooling and progress drops-off as students move through the schooling system. This paper uses case study research to investigate the interactions and the self-perceptions of five literacy leaders, eight teachers of 10-12year-old students and their principals in five New Zealand primary schools. The schools had been nominated as succeeding in teaching reading in the upper primary school by literacy experts. The article is part of a wider ongoing research project based on a substantial investigation of reading in the final years of primary schooling. All schools had a designated literacy leader who played a key role in supporting literacy development across the school. They were supporting teachers in further developing their knowledge of reading processes and strategies to improve instructional reading at the Year 7 and 8 levels. At all five schools the principals strongly supported the whole school ongoing professional development in reading. The literacy leaders played a significant role in supporting teachers and providing a cohesive alignment within their long-term, school-wide plan to improve reading achievement. Teacher knowledge of literacy processes was evident with teachers planning explicit instruction around text. Vocabulary knowledge and comprehension strategies were recognised as two key areas. School-wide assessment data and in-depth analysis of the implications of the results were discussed amongst staff.
- literacy professional development
- upper primary school