Boosting reading levels for Pacific Island families in Northland will be the focus of a new programme involving both parents and children.
Fale Pasifika, the only Northland-based service provider for Pacific peoples, will be running a programme called Reading Together - which helps parents and whānau to provide effective support for their children's reading - and will be targeting Northland's growing Pacific Island community.
Fale Pasifika manager May Seager said a 2017 report about Pasifika peoples in New Zealand showed Pacific primary pupils achieving at or above the national standard for reading in 2015 was 66 per cent, compared with 84 per cent for NZ European.
She said those statistics were one of the reasons she wanted to bring the programme to Northland.
"It's to help boost the reading levels and also, I think this is quite key, it is for parents to understand that they are crucial partners in the success of their children's education."
Seager said the programme is run by registered teachers and aimed at preschool and primary school-aged children.
The first workshop was held on Tuesday and 10 parents and 15 children attended.
"It's really exciting because we see it as something really positive ... It's about teaching the parents how to read with kids in a way that is engaging."
Seager said the programme will run for three weeks with a three-week gap before the final session on May 7. That is so they can see if there's been any changes - there will be surveys before and after to assess this, she said.
After the Reading Together programme finishes, Fale Pasifika will be running another programme called PowerUP, which aims to support Pacific parents, families and communities to champion their children's learning.
"We wanted to do Reading Together first to try to get parents in good habits on how to read with the kids.
"Like if you're reading and a child stumbles on a word do you jump right in there and read the whole thing for them, or not? It's all those sorts of tools that we're helping put in people's kete."
According to 2013 Census data there were 5850 Pacific Island people living in Northland, but Seager said the population is growing.
For more information on the programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org