Learning-centred relationships: reading together

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Evaluation indicators
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“The things that we share are easy. They are practical, sustainable practices that build strong families.”

This school has implemented the Reading Together programme for many years. Leadership sees the value of the programme in building strong learning relationships with family and whanau and supporting emerging literacy.

Key messages:

  • The focus of the Reading Together workshops enhances relationships between home and school, and within families, between parent and child
  • The programme provides families with strategies for conversations with children about their learning
  • Students’ reading improves significantly as parents and whānau learn how to actively support their children’s learning
  • Leadership involvement gives the programme status
  • Parents and whānau are able to participate in their children’s education journey

Things to think about:

  • What kind of learning opportunities do you provide to enable parents and whānau to actively support their children’s learning?
  • What else might you do?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 3: Educationally powerful connections and relationships 
    • Evaluation indicators 
      • Student learning at home is actively promoted through the provision of relevant learning opportunities, resources and support
      • Communication supports and strengthens reciprocal learning-centred relationships
      • Community collaborations enrich opportunities for students to become confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners

This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.

The full video series can be found here.

Remote video URL

(We open on a man sitting in an office, speaking into the camera. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Laurie Thew, Principal, Manurewa Central School”.)


I have to confess that when I first heard about Reading Together I was sceptical.


(Laurie continues to speak in voiceover as the scene shifts to show him sitting at a desk against a dark window, flipping through a stack of papers.)

I thought, I don't know if I've got time for this.


(The camera closes-up up on his face.)

Well, I was totally wrong.


(We return to Laurie speaking into the camera.)

It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.


(The scene now changes to show two women sitting in a school staffroom with a kitchenette in the background. One of them in holding up three picture books as she speaks. Laurie’s voiceover continues.)

It helps children learn to read.


(Panning out, we see people sitting in chairs in a circle as they listen to the woman. Laurie is among them. The camera then returns to the woman, who now holds a book open as she speaks.)

It also helps the relationship between parent and child.


(The video now returns to Laurie in the office.)

It takes the stress out of that.


(We now see a woman sitting in a room with a mirror behind her, speaking into the camera. Text along the bottom of the screen reads, “Sandy Griffin, Deputy Principal, Manurewa Central School”.)

The things that we share in those workshops are easy.


(The scene changes to show the meeting once more. In the foreground a man looks through a book titled “BROCK, A ‘reading nook’ for adults”. The camera zooms out and pans across the room, showing everyone at the meeting has a copy of the same book.)

They're practical, sustainable practices that build strong families.


(We return to Sandy very briefly before returning to the meeting, where a woman gestures as she speaks. We then see Sandy at the meeting, speaking to the group as she flips through her copy of the book.)

It gives parents some strategies, really, as to the conversations that they can have about their children's learning. It also gives them some ideas to recognise, and ways to celebrate the successes that children have.


(The camera briefly shows Sandy speaking into the camera once more before returning to her at the meeting. The group turns to listen as a woman on the other side of the room speaks.)

Not just merely achieving a merit pass or a distinction pass. It's about the achievements at the level of learning where the children are at.


(The video returns to Laurie in his office, speaking into the camera.)

The family that goes through this process, their children's reading increases dramatically.


(Again, we see the meeting. Various people take turns to speak as the others listen.)

And everyone's a lot happier. The other spin-off is that Sandy and I build relationships with the people in the group.


(The camera closes-up on Sandy’s face as she speaks to the group. Laurie’s voiceover continues.)

Sandy is very skilled at working with the group.


(The camera pans across several people as they read their copies of BROCK. The camera reaches Laurie and he laughs.)

I'm light relief, I call it. But they see the principal cares about this as well.


(Laurie’s voiceover continues as the camera shows a montage of different people at the meeting with their books.)

We build a really close relationship with the parents that do that.


(Sandy takes over the voiceover as the scene continues.)

Reading Together is a hugely powerful programme.


(We see the room from outside, looking in through a large window.)

It's a doorway into building relationships with families and getting to know the children that you're working with.


(We are back with Sandy as she speaks into the camera.)

And also opening that door to give them the confidence to come in, and not feel that there are questions that they can't ask.