Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 39, June 2004



Television’s role in the education of our children is a highly contentious subject, which never fails to cause an argument. Television is blamed for everything from dumbing down our youngsters to encouraging immorality. But there is one certainty: television is here to stay.



Language experience: what’s going on?

The adult literacy core curriculum is ignoring the benefits of a “language experience” approach to basic skills teaching, argues writer and researcher Jane Mace.



Imitation, innovation and invention

Independent writer and consultant Pie Corbett reports on the Story Making Project, which uses storytelling to help children understand and use narrative language.


Communicating through performance

Manager Anne Evans explains what happened when Rochdale Sure Start looked for ways of using performance art to develop children’s communication and language skills.


Building a supportive foundation

The Primary National Strategy now includes expert support for the foundation stage. Lesley Staggs, national director of the foundation stage strand, explains the benefits for children’s learning.


Speaking, listening, learning

New materials can help primary schools to develop a systematic approach to language development in the classroom. Janet White, of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, explains how.


Transition with RIF

Toe by Toe is a phonics-based programme for teaching basic literacy skills to learners of all ages. Psychologist Dr Tommy MacKay explains why it was chosen by the West Dunbartonshire Literacy Initiative and Frank Cowling reports on its use at HMP Wandsworth.


Entombment or enlightenment?

Key stage 3 literacy consultant Bridie Sharkey recommends motivational classroom activities for improving writing.


Tools not rules

Grammar for Reading training provides ready-to-use, fun classroom activities for secondary teachers while allowing them to brush up on their own grammar knowledge, according to English consultant Annmarie Hoey.


YouthBOOX moves on

Project manager Ruth Harrison reports on the latest development of the YouthBOOX project – referring youngsters on to suitable basic skills provision.


Stepping into gear

Elizabeth Jarman, of the Basic Skills Agency, explains how Step in to Learning helps parents and carers to improve their literacy and language skills, and opens their minds to further education.


Special Feature: Television and early language

Reviewing the evidence

Literacy Today research editor, Dr Robin Close, opens our research feature with a discussion of the available evidence on television and early language.


Television’s impact on reading skills

Dr Elizabeth Vandewater, of the University of Texas at Austin, discusses her research on how television affects the reading skills of pre-school children.


Viewing habits and language development

Researchers from the University of Bristol report findings relating to television viewing habits from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.


Teletubbies teaches first words?

A study by Dr Marina Krcmar and Dr Bernard Grela of the University of Connecticut examined the impact of watching Teletubbies on language learning in children under two. Here they report their findings.



Helping deaf children

Professor Terezinha Nunes, Ursula Pretzlik and Diana Burman of Oxford Brookes University describe how teaching morphology can support deaf children’s reading and spelling.


A matter of time?

Dr Clare Wood of the Open University presents research findings on the connections between reading ability, phonological awareness and sensitivity to speech rhythm.


Research digest

Children, young people and new media; Success factors in young people’s informal learning; Learning how to learn; Abstracts; Titles



HMCI England Annual Report; Key Stage 3 Strategy Evaluation; The Children Bill; and Step in to Learning Evaluation




National Literacy Trust News

Social inclusion discussion paper; Premier League Reading Stars launches; Playhouse Disney Channel supports RIF.


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