Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 36, September 2003



Testing and targets are not words that can be brandished too carelessly around educationalists this autumn. The need to meet Government targets has made some teachers feel they are teaching to the test, rather than teaching to help pupils learn, which has in turn made them feel powerless. The focus on tests and targets has gone too far, they say. Interestingly, this sentiment is now being echoed by research, including the Government’s own.



Child’s play

Many early years practitioners believe an over-formalised curriculum can obstruct children’s creativity. Headteacher Gail Bedford explains her approach to play-based learning.


Excellence and enjoyment

Kevan Collins, director of the National Primary Strategy, explains how it extends the principles of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies to support teaching in all the subjects of the curriculum.


Improving children’s life chances

Jessica Guerin, a Sure Start specialist speech and language therapist, describes approaches to early intervention – and, importantly, prevention.


The keys to inclusion

For headteacher Joyce Moore, raising the literacy standards of the lowest-achieving pupils means addressing a wide range of factors. She explains how.


A learning holiday

Many Pakistani and Bangladeshi families take extended visits to their home country. Rochdale’s Partnership Education Service has turned this into an opportunity for family learning. Nan Jackson reports.


First Steps – into the library

Lucy Love and Hannah Richens report on a pilot project which used the library service to deliver training to parents on supporting children’s reading.


Supporting cast… or key players?

The key supporting role of teaching assistants is still developing in secondary schools. Daphne Denaro, from the Key Stage 3 National Strategy, outlines current initiatives and training.


Mobile learning

Jill Attewell examines the research evidence on mobile phone use and the possibilities of using them to teach basic literacy skills to young adults.


Feature: International

Making international comparisons

Anne Alkema and Pam O’Connell, from the New Zealand Ministry of Education, detail the history behind their Literacy Leadership programme.


From oracy to literacy

Dr Thomas G. Sticht, an international consultant in adult education, explains the concept of ‘reading potential’ and what it means for oracy to literacy transfer in adult basic skills learners.



Community at the core?

Formal college settings can deter many adults from signing up to improve their literacy. Kate Pahl from the University of Sheffield describes the characteristics of ‘community-focused’ provision.


Peer assisted learning for inclusion

Professor Keith Topping reports on the benefits of peer assisted learning for raising achievement and promoting inclusion.


REAL involvement for parents

Sheffield’s Raising Early Achievement in Literacy Project was a major seven-year investigation on family literacy with preschool children. Professor Peter Hannon and Dr Cathy Nutbrown from Sheffield University report some of its findings.


Making early non-fiction exciting

Dr Margaret Mallett from the University of London describes ways of making early non-fiction reading and writing both exciting and relevant, in order to help advance children’s thinking and understanding.


Research digest

Welsh bilingual literacy practices; Attitudes to reading survey; Literacy and health research; Abstracts; Titles.



Reading all Over the World; Playing for Success Evaluation; Excellence in Cities and Education Action Zones: Management and Impact and Bookstart Partnership Report.




National Literacy Trust News

10 years of the National Literacy Trust; Mapping the Territory, BBC Big Read.


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