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School Resources

Now I don’t know my ABC

Published March 21, 2022

The perilous state of literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand

A 2020 UNICEF report found that only 64.6% of 15-year-olds in Aotearoa New Zealand have basic proficiency in reading and maths. Turning that around, a staggering 35.4% – over a third of 15-year-olds – struggle to read and write. Given the critical (and growing) importance of literacy, not only for education and employment but also for broader life outcomes, this statistic is deeply worrying. 

The Education Hub has conducted an extensive literature review in order to understand more fully exactly where Aotearoa New Zealand is at in terms of literacy achievement, how we got here, and what might be done to turn the situation around. Our research is presented in two reports. Now I Don’t Know My ABC provides an overview of our findings, including recommendations for how to improve the state of literacy in New Zealand. What’s happening with literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand? is a companion report, which provides a more detailed analysis of the research on literacy in New Zealand. 

Additional resources


The state of literacy webinar

The perilous state of literacy in New Zealand –  watch the a panel discussion that followed our report launch

The state of literacy; how bad are things and why does it matter?

What the research says about current literacy levels in New Zealand

Addressing the literacy crisis; what needs to happen?

How to improve literacy in New Zealand

What’s happening with literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Read our long companion report

Reflecting on our state of literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand webinar

Exploring the need for open, constructive dialogue to improve literacy achievement in New Zealand

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