Government's new dyslexia funding a 'redressed status quo' based on outdated research - advocate

The Government's new dyslexia funding is being criticised by advocates as not going far enough and being based on flawed, outdated research.

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Carla McNeil, from specialist education consultancy Learning Matters, told TVNZ1's Breakfast more needs to be done. Source: Breakfast

On Friday, the Government unveiled what it describes as a new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia.

However, Carla McNeil, from specialist education consultancy Learning Matters, calls it a "redressed status quo".

"It falls short of what [teachers and parents] know to be true, in terms of an evidence-based approach, to how their children and our children are going to become literate members of our society," she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"The research is clear now that the brain learns to read in one way, not that children learn to read in different ways."

The funding includes giving support coordinators a teaching resource on dyslexia, along with a bank of resources to directly assist students.

But one of those resources, Reading Recovery, is outdated and has "got to go", Ms McNeil says.

"There are too many dyslexic children across the country, too many parents being filled with false hopes with these interventions that don't work and, in a nutshell, are snake oil."

Instead, Ms McNeil wants the Government to re-examine research from New Zealand and overseas in the best ways to teach children to read.

She says one in seven kids have dyslexia and all teachers should be able to help.

"One of the immediate changes that needs to be made is access to quality professional development in this area for teachers across the country. 

"We need teachers on the ground to be having quality, evidence-based professional development in this area."

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Mike Styles, literacy and numeracy specialist, told TVNZ1’s Breakfast it is well overdue Source: Breakfast

After last week's announcement, literacy and numeracy specialist Mike Styles told Breakfast it's a good step.

"It is well, well overdue and it is but the first step," he said on Friday.

"We've had this history of official denial of dyslexia [in New Zealand] and it's a sad legacy."