Communities of Readers

Communities of Readers

The Communities of Readers project is an initiative designed to connect more children and young people to reading. This initiative is enabling the National Library to work with a small number of communities to strengthen reading engagement.

On this page

What is Communities of Readers?
Purpose of the project
The communities
Resources for creating Communities of Readers

What is Communities of Readers?

Communities of Readers (COR) is a National Library initiative that aims to engage children and young people with reading for pleasure and wellbeing. Funded by the Te Puna Foundation and in collaboration with partners, the initiative will work with four to five communities to strengthen focus areas identified through a co-design process.

Research, resources, stories and tools generated during each of the projects will be shared. The learnings will also help shape future work, including that related to the National Library’s ‘Growing a Nation of Readers’ strategy.

COR commenced in mid–2019 and is expected to run for 2 to 3 years.

Te Puna Foundation

Purpose of the project

Reading for pleasure has significant benefits such as improving reading, knowledge, empathy, creativity, wellbeing and social outcomes. It provides an important foundation for digital and critical literacies, crucial for participation in today’s complex information landscape.

However, not all children, young people and their communities in New Zealand have the same opportunities to develop a love of reading. There are inequities in access to books, libraries, expertise, support and reading role-models.

“All of the data suggest how powerfully reading transforms the lives of individuals — whatever their social circumstances. Regular reading not only boosts the likelihood of an individual’s academic and economic success — facts that are not especially surprising — but it also seems to awaken a person’s social and civic sense. Reading correlates with almost every measurement of positive personal and social behaviour surveyed.”

To Read or Not to Read: A Question of National Consequence, National Endowment for the Arts' report, US, 2007

The communities

There are three projects underway and one or two additional projects are also being explored, including to support reading for vulnerable youth in the care of Oranga Tamariki.

South Dunedin

In late 2019 we consulted with South Dunedin whānau and educators. Findings from this consultation have helped shape the focus of this project to:

  • the distribution of books to homes
  • community hubs and businesses in South Dunedin, and
  • a targeted communications campaign about the value of reading for pleasure and wellbeing.

The National Library and Dunedin partners will support these goals over the coming year with programming and community engagement. Schools and Early Childhood Educators will be important conduits for the project and educators will be supported by professional development.

Point and Associates will lead the research component for this project, contributing insights and data to the COR Research Report.

Focus

To work together with the communities of South Dunedin to increase the number of young readers inspired to read for pleasure and well-being. The particular focus is on children aged 3-7, during the period of transition from early learning environments to primary school. The vision for the project is to strengthen the communities by reading together.

Partners

Dunedin City Council; Methodist Mission Southern; Ministry of Education Otago/Southland Regional Directorate; National Library of New Zealand

West Auckland

Reading Achievement is a priority challenge for the schools in Kāhui Ako o Tiriwa and the Principals have agreed to a whole-of-school commitment to working with the National Library in 2020-2021.

The Communities of Readers project will support and enable teachers to inspire students to read for pleasure and wellbeing. A programme of activities, professional development and access to books will commence from mid-2020.

Auckland University of Technology's (AUT) School of Education will undertake the research for this community project.

Focus

We will bring together the expertise of the five schools, the Ministry of Education and the National Library nurture the joy of reading among the students. Schools may be involved in different ways depending on their needs and priorities.

Partners

Massey Primary, Royal Road School, West Harbour School, Colwill School, Lincoln Heights School, Ministry of Education Auckland Regional Directorate, National Library of New Zealand

Huntly

Huntly College is a co-educational decile 1 secondary school on the western banks of the Waikato River with a roll that is over 80% Maori. It has an innovative and broad curriculum and the Principal and school leaders are passionate advocates for reading for pleasure.

The vision for the Huntly community of readers is that Huntly College is associated with reading, and that by working together we can support staff and student leaders to promote and inspire students to read for pleasure and wellbeing.

Commencing in June 2020, the project will deliver professional development as well as other programmes and experiences for staff and students.

The School of Education AUT will undertake the community research in this project and invite student researchers to work with them to better understand reading at Huntly College.

Focus

To work with Huntly College to develop and support a culture of reading for pleasure for young people aged 13-18 yrs.

Partners

Huntly College, National Library of New Zealand

Resources for creating Communities of Readers

Creating a reading community ensures young people have the support, encouragement, reading resources and inspiration to read for pleasure. This is one of the most powerful ways of improving reading, vocabulary, knowledge of self, others and the world, educational outcomes and wellbeing.