Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 51, June 2007



Editor Michael Marshall sets the scene for a debate in the pages of this issue over how much emphasis should be placed on synthetic phonics.



What’s the latest news about phonics?

Debbie Hepplewhite, a consultant and trainer for synthetic phonics, writes in response to the publication of the Government’s synthetic phonics programme, Letters and Sounds.


Using context cues: children as reading detectives

Pat Farrington, freelance researcher and writer, former teacher and BBC Schools Television producer, writes about the importance of using context cues in the teaching of early reading as well as phonics.


Twenty-first century touch to Shakespeare

Georghis Ellinas, Secondary National Strategy Regional Adviser, writes about a new way of engaging children in the study of Shakespeare at Key Stage 3, through the use of the latest online technology.


Save us from e-nnihilation

John Kirkland PhD and David Bimler PhD of Massey University in New Zealand warn of some of the pitfalls associated with the electronic delivery of learning materials.


Valuing all Scotland’s languages

Joanna McPake, director of the Scottish Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research at the University of Stirling, writes about the lack of educational opportunities for multilingual children in Scotland speaking languages other than English and Gaelic. This is followed by two case studies of schemes currently running in Germany and Sweden.



Document Reviews

The documents reviewed in this issue are Learning for Life: A new framework for adult skills from the Institute of Public Policy Research, and Active Learning in the Early Years from Learning and Teaching Scotland.



As You Like It: Catching up in an age of global English; Adult Literacy Research: opportunities and challenges; Signposts to Safety: Teaching e-safety at key stages 3 and 4; Literacy in Everyday Life: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy; National Report on Schooling in Australia 2005: National benchmark results – reading, writing and numeracy, years 3, 5 and 7; Reading First: Student achievement, teacher empowerment, national success; The Relationship of the Component Skills of Reading to IALS Performance: Tipping points and five classes of adult literacy learners.



We report on the Reading, the Healthy Option conference, at the University of Central England Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, which looked at the effectiveness of bibliotherapy, a treatment in which patients are ‘prescribed’ self-help books.




We report on the latest research and policy news from the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Reports this issue include the Australian Government’s decision to establish a working group to consider models for a national curriculum.


Not all fun and games

Sarah Kowalyk and Hélène Deacon of Dalhousie University, Canada, write about the role of educational games in teaching reading skills to children with learning disabilities.


Approaches to teaching children words

Ben Leikin and Hélène Deacon of Dalhousie University, Canada, write a review of research into the context and definition methods of helping children expand their vocabulary.


The helicopterstory telling and story acting technique

Karen Hayon and Evi Typadi, Speech and Language Therapists at the Medical Centre in London, report on their research into a tool for developing children’s confidence, creativity and communication skills.


Early Development and Dyslexia

Dr Julia Carroll of Warwick University writes about research examining the links between a genetic risk of dyslexia and early language difficulties.


American Adult Education

The aim of the Adult Education Programme Study was to gather and disseminate information about the programmes that constitute the adult education system in the US, and to assess and report on the literacy and numeracy skills of a nationally representative sample of adults who participated in those programmes.



Media Watch

Fewer 14-year-olds reaching the expected literacy standard in England, figures from the Welsh Assembly showing that one in four adults has a reading age of 11 or below, Ofsted’s report The Foundation Stage, QCA recommendations to abolish league tables, a report on the high price of the nation’s literacy skills, boys’ underachievement due to the ‘feminisation’ of the exam system, and the roll-out of the Early Talk programme.


Research Digest

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



We report on debates and answers to written parliamentary questions concerning literacy, including those on phonics, textbooks for children with SEN, the Young Offender’s Bill, libraries and dyslexia.




National Literacy Trust News

New literacy news service launched. Getting the Blokes on Board magazine. Free football posters. Reading the Game releases Kick into Reading film. National Reading Campaign family reading conference.


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