The Labour Party says a reading recovery plan for every school is a major part of its vision for the future of the country's education system.
Leader David Shearer, who was a teacher himself, set out Labour's ideas in a speech to party faithful in Auckland on Sunday.
He says currently only two out of three schools offer reading recovery programmes, which have an 80% success rate.
Mr Shearer, who has himself been a teacher, says when students fall behind in reading they often never catch up again.
Teachers then try to manage those children when what they need is an intensive recovery intervention.
He says a Labour government would aim to have a reading recovery programme in all schools and develop a similar scheme targeting maths.
Mr Shearer says the National-led Government has poured all its money and effort into National Standards and league tables, designed to measure how pupils and schools are doing, but he says it has no plan to actually improve children's learning.
He also called for clearer and easier to understand report cards, so parents can have a better idea of the progress of their children and their school.
Free food in low decile schools
Mr Shearer also committed his party to doing more work in partnership with communities to put free food in decile one to three schools.
He says it can be debated endlessly who is responsible for feeding children, but that won't change the reality that on Monday morning kids will still turn up to school hungry.
Mr Shearer says Labour will find the best of several available models for feeding children in schools.