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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.


Teachers work in close partnerships with all those who have a stake in a student’s learning: most important are families and whānau. They are a student's first teachers, and much of the literacy learning continues outside the classroom. It’s important for teachers and parents to share information about literacy learning and work together to foster each child’s learning. Their roles are complementary.

Teachers and families/whānau need to develop good relationships and shared expectations. Educational strategies, such as Ka Hikitia and the Pasifika Education Plan, show that mutually respectful relationships are crucial to supporting the achievement of Māori and Pasifika students.

For research-based, practical information about developing positive home–school partnerships, see Community Engagement on NZC Online.

Background information

  • For more information about partnerships, see chapter 7 of Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1–4.

Sharing information about literacy learning

Partnerships between homes and schools (and between schools and their communities) are more likely to be effective when there is an understanding that a learner and their family and whānau are inextricably linked.

Families and whānau are able to share valuable knowledge about their child (for example, information about their culture, language, and identity) with their teacher. This information helps teachers to support their students to succeed as culturally located learners.

Equally important is the knowledge that schools can share with families and whānau about supporting their child’s literacy learning. This includes reading at home. Invite families and whānau to participate in learning contexts where their child’s reading and writing skills are being developed. Parents and whānau may have local knowledge and skills to enrich these learning contexts.

In addition to informal conversations, information evenings, and parent–teacher conferences, provide opportunities to explain the purpose of such things as home reading and spelling homework.

Key times for teachers and families and whānau to share information about students’ literacy learning are:

  • during the school enrolment process
  • during initial school visits (before starting school as new entrants)
  • after school entry assessment
  • after the Six Year Observation Survey has been completed.

Some schools communicate a student’s results to families and whānau in a separate conference. This is a forum to celebrate achievement and to discuss the student's future learning steps based on the data collected.

Many schools have birthday reporting for the first three years. This involves the teacher sharing data that gives an overall judgment about a student’s achievement in relation to the National Standards.

There are suggestions for ways families and whānau can support their children’s learning online.

Updated on: 20 Nov 2014