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date: 25 March 2023

Reading Comprehension and Culturally Diverse Schools in Aotearoa New Zealandlocked

Reading Comprehension and Culturally Diverse Schools in Aotearoa New Zealandlocked

  • Stuart McNaughton, Stuart McNaughtonThe University of Auckland
  • Rebecca JessonRebecca JessonThe University of Auckland
  •  and Aaron WilsonAaron WilsonThe University of Auckland


It has proven difficult to establish how best to promote valued outcomes in reading comprehension for students in culturally diverse schools. Efforts are constrained by the disparities communities served by these schools often experience in physical, social, economic, and political conditions. However, principles are being developed for the effectiveness of schools, using four perspectives. The first is consideration of reading comprehension as a cognitive, linguistic, and cultural activity, which includes aspects of well-being such as cultural identity. The activity takes different forms, including one new form of digital literacy. Second, principles need to be underpinned by an understanding of how disparities in comprehension develop over time, through adopting a “life course” perspective. Over the life course, channels of socialization are afforded by both family practices and instructional conditions, and features of each are associated with disparities over time. Finally, criteria for what counts as success include enhancing distributions of achievement, promoting and protecting cultural identity, and overcoming system variability. Four principles of note are (a) increasing opportunities for students to learn; (b) providing textual depth and breadth; (c) making discourse and culture central to intervention designs; and (d) design-based research partnerships that can change practices at scale. However, achieving successful educational outcomes for students using these and other principles depends on considerable commitment, resourcing, and time, including reconfiguring of the role and responsibilities of researchers.


  • Curriculum and Pedagogy

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