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Murray Gadd Literacy Update Feb 2023

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Kia ora tatou

Happy New Year to all of you.

I must say that I was happy to see the end of 2022.  Although Covid only interrupted my plans in Term One (badly!!), it hung over us for all of the year.  I caught it in March (though only mildly) but spent the rest of the year wondering when I would catch it again, despite being vaccinated to the hilt.

I’ve had an excellent break from mid-December to mid-January.  Reading high quality fiction, watching streamed series (have a look at my Arts blog) and swimming and walking (weather permitting).  People often ask me if I’m going away for the break – I answer “No, I’m on the road for most of the year….so why would I want to leave home in January??”  And when home is Waiheke Island…..

A highlight for me though has been the building and development over December and January of a beautiful library studio in our garden.  Some of you may recall that my old friend and mentor Jim Milburn (of Price Milburn Publishers) died about a year ago and bequeathed to me a life-time of books (about 2000) that he and his late wife Barbara had collected.  I had promised Jim that I would care for their collection for as long as I could.  You can see evidence of this in the photo above, showing me sitting in our new and purpose-built library studio, ready to enjoy what’s around me.


New Free Tool For Undertaking School-Wide Writing Inquiry

Murray's free resource


Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to work on new resources for my website and I have pleasure in announcing the following:

  • A free tool for schools (particularly school leaders) that wish to undertake their own inquiry on students’ engagement and achievement in writing and instigate their own professional learning and development programme based on this.

I have put this together because I hate telling schools ‘no availability’ when they approach me to work with them, and I believe that they can undertake their own professional learning and development given the wide range of resources I have developed for them.

Included in the tool are:

  • An overview of what such an inquiry might look like;
  • Survey that teachers can complete indicating their strengths and needs as teachers of writing;
  • An observation form for school leaders to use;
  • A document matching ‘writing issues for teacher development’ (e.g., ‘planning a writing programme’; ‘boys and writing’; ‘extending able writers’) with resources on my website that could be used for leading such development.  Most of these resources are part of my on-line subscription resource scheme.

Click here to watch the video introduction and download the Tool (PDF document).

New Shared Writing Lessons

Murray Working with students

Continuing with my new instructional venture – Murray Working With Students – I have filmed two new videos in school settings – available as part of the online subscription resource:

And don’t forget that there are not only extensive teacher notes to go with each of these videos but also transcripts & subtitles of each lesson for follow-up analysis.

Thanks to the staff and students at Balmoral School for having us there and letting us film the lessons. [Pictured below, Murray, Malcolm Milner (principal) and Trish Cullen (Associate Principal).

Balmoral staff

New Video Lessons, Classroom Story & Arts Blog

New Video Lessons. This term I’ve produced two new Video Writing Lessons (and teachers’ notes), both for junior classes:

Both of these lessons are available as part of the online subscription resource which can be purchased on the website, if you are not already a subscriber.

Also On

A New Classroom Story

  • A new classroom story.  It is from Eastern Hutt School (in Lower Hutt) and features a great teacher promoting diary writing with her Year 5-6 students through Anthony Browne’s Voices in the Park.  Find out all that Sue (the teacher) does to get great diary writing from her students.

The Arts Blog

Looking Ahead

I am excited about 2023.  Besides my school-based work across the country, I am particularly looking forward to:
  • My (mainly work) visit to Stockholm and London mid-March to end of May;
  • My delivery of three professional development courses in New South Wales in mid-June.  This will be my first work sojourn into Australia.  Go into for details of these courses;
  • My delivery of a keynote address on writing at the National Literacy Conference in Invercargill in late September;
  • The anticipated publication in October of a major book I am writing on all aspects of the teaching of writing.

For this, I am incredibly grateful to Learning Network NZ Ltd who are sponsoring this publication for me.   I’m delighted also to be running a writing course for them at the beginning of the Term 2-3 holidays.  Refer to

Here’s me enjoying a laugh and a glass of wine with them just before Xmas.

learning network

That’s it everyone.  Have a great year everyone and don’t hesitate to make contact with me with any queries.


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