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Encouraging pukapuka love

While some tamariki love reading, there will also be others that aren’t enjoying reading yet. We've come up with a few ideas and a Whare Tapa Whā activity to support everyone to find their kind of pukapuka passion.

Firstly, the science...

Engaging in regular reading has been consistently linked to enhanced wellbeing benefits. Research shows a positive correlation between reading and factors such as reduced stress levels, increased empathy and emotional intelligence, as well as improved cognitive function. Reading provides a valuable avenue for relaxation, escapism, and personal growth.

Why this activity?

The evidence is clear that reading for enjoyment is good for our wellbeing, so this activity is all about supporting that!

You'll need

Pukapuka! Include ones that highlight tamariki hobbies and interests and in the languages your tamariki most likely kōrero at home.

This is where you'll find the Whare Tapa Whā and Literacy worksheet for older tamariki - print one each and our whānau engagement bookmark is here. There are 4 on each sheet.

What to do

While this isn’t so much an ‘activity’ like our ordinary Manahau mahi, we’re keen to support tamariki enjoying reading, no matter what that looks like.


As you know, YOU’RE the expert in teaching tamariki to read, but hopefully, we can support this with the tips below.


The Wellbeing benefits of reading

The National Library of New Zealand (Māori) are all over this in an excellent article they’ve created here.

They’ve done a ka rawe job of looking at reading through the lens of Te Whare Tapa Whā, which we couldn't help but turn into a cool activity. Print off the Whare Tapa Whā and Literacy worksheet here and kōrero this through with tamariki allowing them to add in all the wellbeing and hauora benefits for them when they're enjoying reading.  


But what if tamariki are finding no enjoyment in reading?

You are the absolute experts in supporting tamariki to learn to read. Perhaps though we can offer some ideas around supporting tamariki wellbeing while they’re learning. 


We know you will have books in your classroom for tamariki to explore, read to them regularly so that tamariki enjoy the experience of reading with their friends and share all the emotions books can bring - curiosity, concern, humour, excitement and calmness are a few we’ve noted when watching you read to your tamariki as a group.


You will also be offering library time for tamariki to spend time amongst books - normalising them and having the option to take books home.

And you might like to:


  • Have books available in the language your tamariki will be using at home

  • Praise efforts and trying rather than success

  • Support tamariki interests and hobbies and offer books that focus on these things.

  • Support tamariki with a mantra to keep them calm or focussed on their reading. We love I Am Calm - How to Leave Your Worries Behind by Maria Robins who offers “I am calm, I’m okay, I’m not getting sucked down into these thoughts today” But you can support tamariki to come up with something meaningful for them. This can be a great kōrero with all your tamariki - "sometimes our brains are not very kind, and they tell us negative things about ourselves. This is them just trying to protect us, but it can really get in the way. What can we say to ourselves when our brain is being negative? What will help us to keep going, understand that we’re learning and be kind to ourselves?"

  • Encourage lots of oral language - unpacking stories - drawing the story from the pukapuka (draws on their artistic skills too) or draw a mental model of what happened in the book (this happened, then this...)

  • Make photograph pukapuka of tamariki during their day at school or doing the things they love. 

  • Encourage whānau engagement with regular kōrero or you might like to use our bookmark as a colouring activity and whānau support - it includes 4 key points to support tamariki reading.

Kaiako card

To come

Whānau engagement

Share the  Real Parents podcast with Felicity Morton-Turner who's completing her Phd on supporting tamariki love of literacy and shares some fabulous tips on supporting tamariki transitioning to school.

And don't forget our bookmark with whānau tips to support tamariki reading.

And to add to this...

If you’re looking to bring a different type of literacy into your classroom - emotional literacy - we'd recommend Emotional kanikani and also get some movement in.

Alternatively, after some reading your tamarkik may need a much-needed brain break in which case we have got you covered with our activity Let’s take a brain break!

If you're looking for other resources and support we love: 

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum 

Personal Health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development

Personal Health and physical development: A4 Personal identity

English Curriculum

Making meaning of ideas or information they receive (listening, reading, and viewing)

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