Why are New Zealand children struggling to read?

A new report has found a significant drop in Kiwi children's literacy.

The report, called the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls) found Kiwi children had dropped from 22nd out of 41 to 32nd out of 50 in 2016.

The Government, unions and academics are blaming the use of national standards and want to remove them.

"It's been a distraction and it's been very adversarial between the teachers unions and the Government and sort of looking at the wrong things, really sort of assessing children without actually looking at how we're teaching them," Massey University Education professor Tom Nicholson told Three's The Project.

The drop could also be due to bullying or poor parenting due to the rise of smart phones. 

The study did find parents could help combat the statistics by helping their kids with their reading.

Thirty nine percent of children in the study were given help by their parents early on, which greatly improved their literacy.

Watch the video for the full The Project interview.