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

Introduction to resources

Pasifika Dual Language Resources: What are they?

The Pasifika Dual Language Resources are a set of print and online resources to help new entrant and early years Pasifika children transition to English medium schools. The resources are designed to support the early language and literacy learning of Pasifika students in English-medium classrooms.

The resources are based on the second language acquisition principle that building on the child’s language/s, helps to strengthen English language and literacy. The resources are in line with the Pasifika Education Plan and the Ministry Statement of Intent, by ensuring the linguistic strengths these students bring to school will be used to build their English language and literacy. 

Evidence shows that some Pasifika children make less-than-expected progress in reading and writing English in their first years of school. Research also shows that drawing on all of a child’s cultural capital, especially that related to literacy and language, can support literacy learning.

The key resources comprise over 20 dual language early reading books in five Pasifika languages (Gagana Sāmoa, Lea Faka-Tonga, Cook Islands Māori, Gagana Tokelau, and Vagahau Niue) and English. Other resources support teachers and parents to use the books with the children, based on the second language acquisition principle that building on the child’s language/s, helps to strengthen English language and literacy.

The project was piloted in 2014 with Gagana Sāmoa/English dual language books in seven south Auckland schools, with successful outcomes for students, teachers, and parents.

The books and accompanying resources can be ordered free of charge from Down the Back of the ChairAll resources are also available online

Resources for students:

Student reading.

There are 5 sets of dual language books in English and the following languages:

These can be ordered from Down the Back of the Chair for each child from each Pacific group. An additional 24 books were printed to complete the series and new kits will be available from October. Schools who previously ordered a set of books will automatically receive a package of the additional books to complete the series.  

The books are designed to be used by parents and teachers. Parents will use them as shared reading resources at home in the first instance, and teachers will follow on from the parent introduction by teaching the child to learn to read the English version (teachers are not expected to learn or teach in Pasifika languages). The books act as an adjunct to the Ready to Read Instructional Series at school, and will cover the first year of schooling.

There are also audio files of all books in each language and in English for children to listen to, available on our website.

Resources for teachers:

  • Teacher’s Manual: Teacher Support Material is available in hard copy and online, outlining principles of second language acquisition pedagogy and culturally responsive approaches.
  • Summaries of each story: Five online “Unpacking the Books” documents provide short summaries of each book and the cultural and linguistic features of each language.
  • Professional learning and development (PLD): 8 online PLD modules provide second language acquisition theory and strategies to support learners who do not have English as a first language. Dr. Rae Si’ilata from the University of Auckland is the presenter of these workshops involving new entrant teachers. She was involved in developing and trialling these books.
  • Online PDFs: Many of the student books are available as PDFs for teachers to use.

Resources for parents:

  • Parent booklets to take home: Parent flip booklets in the five Pasifika languages and English which provide information to help parents support their children at home with language and literacy.
  • Fono: The online resources provide guidance for schools to facilitate their own meetings (fono) to support parents to use the books with their children, and to provide opportunity to contribute to their children’s teachers’ cultural understandings. 

How to implement the Dual Language Resources:

  • PLD for teachers: These materials support teachers in English-medium junior classrooms working with bilingual Pasifika students. A school can work through the eight teacher PLD videos online in staff or syndicate meetings, or in their own time.
  • Ordering the books for students: The dual language readers can be ordered in language sets from Down the Back of the Chair. Each language set contains books from Magenta to Green. You can order a separate set of books for each Pasifika learner in your class. Each title is also available individually.  
  • Arranging parent fono: The online resources provide guidance for schools to facilitate their own meetings (fono).

Updated on: 05 Dec 2016