Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 47, June 2006



Following the publication of the Rose Review’s final report on the teaching of early reading, former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly announced that the national curriculum would be changed so that synthetic phonics would be the primary method for teaching reading and writing. But the Rose Review refused to make a judgement on exactly which programme of synthetic phonics is the most effective.



The BBC and Life Cycles Education

Thomas Sticht, International Consultant in Adult Education, discusses the need to shift education policies from a focus on one life cycle to a focus on multiple “life cycles” education to break the knock-on effect of parental illiteracy.



Renewal of the Primary Framework for Literacy

The Primary Framework for literacy is being renewed and will be launched in September. Wendy Pemberton writes about what teachers can expect to see in the renewed framework and how it is an opportunity to re-energise literacy teaching.


Toxic Childhood Syndrome

Independent Literacy Specialist, Sue Palmer, discusses her latest book, Toxic Childhood: how modern life is damaging our children… and what we can do about it, about how social and cultural changes of the last 20 years have damaged children’s education.


Brentford Football Club’s Literacy Successes

Jo Emmerson, Centre Manager at Griffin Park Learning Zone, writes about various literacy projects that have been undertaken at Brentford Football Club, such as the Brentford ‘Til I Die book project, a collection of stories dedicated to the experience of being a Brentford fan and written by the fans themselves.


Libraries Could do Far More to Help Children in Residential Care

The use of phonics has raised questions about when children should first start reading a book for themselves. Sara Wernham writes about how the ‘Jolly Readers’ scheme helps children gain confidence in their reading ability.


Teaching Prisoners to Escape

Sue Wilkinson, a librarian at HMP Birmingham and editor of the Prison Libraries Journal, writes about her experiences of the Reading Champions in prisons pilot and how it encourages reading for pleasure.


Reader’s Theatre in the Classroom

Don Long and Meryl-Lynn Pluck, of Lift Education in New Zealand, write about a reader’s theatre programme that has been developed to help improve children’s reading and writing fluency.


An Extended School Approach to Family Learning

Jen Carney, co-ordinator of the Great Lever Family Learning Centre, describes the success of the Centre, which was setup as part of the extended school at Hayward Secondary School, Bolton.




We report on a Museum, Libraries and Archives conference, which took place in March. The conference was designed to raise awareness of and encourage cross-sectoral partnership and collaboration as part of the Skills for Life agenda.


Document Reviews

The documents reviewed in this issue are Rose Review of the Teaching of Early Reading: final report and Choice for Parents, the Best Start for Children: making it happen from the DfES; and Good School Libraries from Ofsted.



National Assessment of Adult Literacy; Literacy - the Key to Learning: framework for action 2006-2008; Literacy Professional Development Project; Literature Circles, Gender and Reading for Enjoyment; Monitoring Children’s Chances; New Ways of Engaging New Learners: lessons from round one of the practitioner-led research initiative; Project  to investigate improving literacy and numeracy outcomes of distance education students in the early years of schooling; and Welsh Immersion and Intensive Language Teaching Pilot in Schools.



Literacy and Social Inclusion

Christina Clark and Rodie Akerman examine differences in reading behaviour and attitudes between pupils who receive free school meals and those who do not.


Pre-school Children’s Reading Experiences

Bridie Raban and Andrea Nolan, of the Early Childhood Consortium Victoria at the University of Melbourne, investigated the home literacy practices of preschool disadvantaged children.


Atlantic Inquiry

Our North American Editor, Robin Close, reports on research and policy in the United States and Canada.


A Systematic Review of the Use of Phonics

Carole J Torgerson and Jill Hall of York University and Greg Brooks of Sheffield University conducted a systematic review of experimental research on the use of different types of phonics in teaching for the DfES.


Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Language Teachers

John Benseman, Alison Sutton and Josie Lander, of Auckland Uniservices, conducted a small-scale exploratory study designed to gain an overview of literacy, numeracy and language teaching in New Zealand.


Improving Teaching and Learning in Schools

This successful and cost-effective project was designed to encourage adults to read with children each day of the holidays to prevent summer fall-off of reading skills.


Research digest

Ongoing research, article abstracts and article titles of research from education and science journals.



Media Watch



We report on answers to written parliamentary questions, including those on the Every Child a Reader project, level 6 tests for Key Stage 2 English, the Talking Books Scheme, adult basic skills, prison education and dyslexia.




National Literacy Trust News

Neil McClelland leaving the NLT; Screenwriting conference; Talk To Your Baby; Quick Reads; Reading the Game DVD; Reading Champions in prisons; and Cricket Reading Champions.


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