Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 48, September 2006



Editor Michael Marshall writes about the awareness of the lack of books for people aged 14-35 in libraries and how it will be changed.



A Teaching Method that Was Right up Our Street

John Izbicki, former education correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and columnist with the Independent, writes about his 36-year struggle to improve literacy teaching in the UK, including his success at helping to bring a well-known children’s TV programme into our homes.



For the Love of Libraries

The Love Libraries campaign aimed to reinvigorate the public library service and attract new and lapsed users back into libraries. As part this, three libraries were selected for a makeover to make them more attractive and useful to the local community, before an official re-opening ceremony on 3 July.


Writing Made Funny

Dave Smith discusses how he went from being a writer and stand-up comedian to running workshops that aim to show schoolchildren that writing can be fun.


Learning with Grandparents

Jenny Cobley and Valerie McBurney of the Basic Skills Agency write about the Agency’s Learning with Grandparents campaign, which will show schools how they can work with grandparents to help young people’s literacy learning in an informal and fun way.


BBC RaW Encourages Tale Telling

Jack Soper, RaW project associate, gives an overview of the BBC’s campaign focus on parents and children in the coming months, encouraging adults to read through an emphasis on storytelling.


New Director at NLT

Jonathan Douglas, currently Head of Policy Development at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, is to succeed Neil McClelland as director of the National Literacy Trust.




We report on the Library and Information Show, where Marek Kamierski, ESOL Library Project Leader at Feltham Young Offenders Institute, spoke about his involvement in the Free with Words project. The project was funded through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Reading and Libraries Challenge Fund, set up in 2003 to improve long-term access to books, reading and library services for young people.


Document Reviews

The documents reviewed in this issue are Better Stock, Better Libraries: transforming library stock procurement from the Museum and Libraries Archive, and Fade or Flourish: how primary schools can build on children’s early progress from the Social Market Foundation.



Assessing Reading; Being Healthy: promoting health messages through family literacy, language and numeracy; Changing Faces of Language and Numeracy: a critical history; Go for It! Hang on in There, OK Here Goes; I’ve opened up: Exploring learners’ perspectives on progress – 2006; Measuring and Boosting the Emotional Intelligence of E2E Learners – 2006; Ready for College and Ready for Work: same or different?; Success at Work: Protecting vulnerable workers, supporting good employers – 2006; Student Assessment in Adult Basic Education: a Canadian snapshot




Our international editor, Robin Close, reports as usual on the latest research and policy news from the US and  Canada. However, this section has now been expanded to include research and policy news from New Zealand and Australia.


Challenging the Rose Review

Margaret M Clark, Visiting Professor at Newman College of Higher Education in Birmingham, considers the findings of the Rose Review and whether its impact on the teaching of reading in England will be for better or for worse. She also looks at research that seems to have been ignored by the review and that contradicts some of its findings.


The Future Development of Public Libraries

Research commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport shows that, without ‘modernisation’, libraries hold almost no interest for the 14 to 35 age group, and that libraries, modernised or otherwise, still need to work to raise awareness of their services, as well as demonstrate their relevance to the local community.


Educational Outcomes and Reading Ability

This research, by Tamara Knighton and Patrick Bussière of Statistics Canada, investigates the relationship between the reading ability of students at age 15 and their subsequent post-secondary educational achievement by the age of 19. It suggests that the relationship between the two is not necessarily deterministic.


Research digest

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




We report on answers to written parliamentary questions, including those on library closures, Skills for Life courses, and examinations with regard to dyslexia.


Media Watch

The launch of the Government’s controversial national register; Harrow School’s claim that pupils’ can gain top GCSE English grades despite having poor spelling; the Chairman of the Education and Skills Select Committee’s claim that children should not start formal schooling until the age of seven; the revelation that that thousands of new teachers are failing easy literacy and numeracy tests; and British industry’s fears about school leavers’ educational standards.




National Literacy Trust News

Reading Connects end-of-school-year report; Reading Champions end-of-school-year report; New Reading Champion book boxes; Family Reading Campaign special edition of Read On available; Reading Is Fundamental, UK and WHSmith Trust Summer Read; and New Talk To Your Baby resource for grandparents.


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