Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 34, March 2003



Literacy is a tower built on a deep foundation of talk. A child lacking the fundamental skills of speaking and listening is far less likely to build the higher skills of reading and writing. Literacy, in other words, is also about oracy.



Language, register and power

Dr Paul Simpson of Queen’s University, Belfast provides teachers with food for thought on written and spoken language.



Transforming lives through literacy

Viv Bird reports on a new National Literacy Trust partnership with the Basic Skills Agency, developing a knowledge centre on literacy and social inclusion to help engage disadvantaged children, young people and adults in learning.


Bookstart grows up

Bookstart, the first national baby-book gifting programme, is launching new packs for children across the early years age ranges. Rosemary Clarke and Elizabeth Davies report.


Elements of effective teaching

Dr Robert Slavin of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, who pioneered the American reading programme Success for All, describes the key elements required for effective teaching.


Phonic problems

Why are phonics programmes less popular in inner-city schools in both the UK and US? Chris Jolly, publisher of Jolly  Phonics, describes some problems and concerns in the use of phonics.


Success for early literacy support

The Fischer Family Trust’s intensive Early Literacy Support programme has made a significant impact on children’s learning. Rosemary Williamson reports.


Talk is vital

Getting secondary students to speak and listen effectively is an important but often neglected strand of classroom teaching. Alan Howe of the Key Stage 3 National Strategy explains why.


Teaching writing

George Low interviews writer/researcher and former inspector Graham Frater on successful practices to promote writing across key stages 2 and 3.


Basic skills with a purpose

Integrating basic skills provision into their work with disadvantaged young people has improved participation in the Prince’s Trust Volunteers programme, as well as contributing to the Skills for Life national strategy. Deputy editor Sam Brookes talked to Jill Matthews, who heads up this aspect of the Prince’s Trust’s work.


Getting employers on board

Basic skills improvement should be seen as part of a wider development strategy for both the company and the individuals within it. Robert Nurden of the Workplace Basic Skills Network reports.



Use it or lose it

New teachers’ phonological awareness skills will only become fluent if training is followed by regular practice. Dr Rhona Stainthorp, from the School of Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education, London University, reports on her research.


Dyslexia support – one size does not fit all

Dr John Rack, head of research at the Dyslexia Institute, presents some of the main findings from his evaluation of SPELLIT, a three-year national research project on the effectiveness of different teaching methods for primary school children with literacy difficulties.


Grammar, spoken English and literacy

A current QCA research project is exploring the grammatical differences and distinctions between spoken and written language at key stage 3 and above. Professor Ronald Carter, who is leading the research, reports.


What works for children with literacy difficulties?

Professor Greg Brooks of the University of Sheffield examines fresh evidence on intervention schemes, taken from the revised report he has produced for the Department for Education and Skills.


Home and school literacy

Ann Williams reports on some early findings from a research project exploring the home literacy practices in a group of families from very different social and cultural backgrounds.


Research digest



NLS: the first four years; The Curriculum in Successful Primary Schools; Boys and Writing; Perspectives in the Teaching  and Learning of Phonics; Reading for Change (PISA); A League Table of Educational Disadvantage in Rich Nations  (UNICEF); Start with the Child; and Evaluation of the Union Learning Fund.




National Literacy Trust News

Talk To Your Baby; RIF, UK radio appeal; NRC supports BBC’s Big Read.


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