Why the New Zealand National Literacy Strategy has failed and what can be done about it.

Responding to evidence from PIRLS 2011 and Reading Recovery monitoring data that New Zealand’s 1999 National Literacy Strategy had failed, the authors look at the factors causing the failure (a constructivist orientation towards literacy education with a lack of attention to phonemic awareness and alphabetic coding skills, lack of response to differences in literate cultural capital, and policies on the first year of literacy teaching resistant to providing explicit instruction and assessment) and review more effective strategies based on contemporary theory and research.