Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 53, December 2007



Editor Michael Marshall writes about the reading ability of young children, what PIRLS reveals and how dyslexia effects children’s reading.



Is the National Literacy Strategy actually working?

Diane Hofkins, formerly primary editor at the TES, questions whether the notion of “delivery” should be applied to the education system in England and whether we actually want the system to be a scheme for “delivering” methodology from government to teachers.



Dyslexia – socially misunderstood

Richard Whitehead, founder and co-director of The Learning People, explains how little understanding the general public has of dyslexia and how it should be seen as a different form of intelligence rather than a disability.


Primary Review

We report on the interim findings of the Primary Review, based at Cambridge University, which seeks to examine the current system of education and assess the impact of government primary education initiatives of the last 20 years.


Art-integrated writing: a successful writing pedagogy for minority students

Dr Shu-Huei Yen, Post-Doctoral Researcher of the Social Science Research Centre at the National Science Council in Taiwan, writes about a teacher whose experience in art education inspired her to incorporate drawing into her writing instruction.


Are you up for reading?

The Down Syndrome Educational Trust’s Up for Reading campaign aims to encourage children to read and also to help their peers with Down syndrome. Howard Hurd, the Trust’s director of funding and development, explains.


A whole book world

Janet Randall, outreach officer, children and young people for Bristol City Council’s library service, explains how library services can have a significant impact on a child’s literacy and learning.


Fluid and crystallised literacy

Tom Sticht, International Consultant in Adult Education, writes about research that has considered adult literacy in terms of fluid and crystallised literacy.



Document Reviews

In this issue we review Library Books in Schools: Spending and provision in primary schools from the Institute of Public Finance and The Government Response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs Fifth Report of Session 2006-07 on Apprenticeships from the DCSF.



Adult Learning in Canada: A comparative perspective; Getting Back on Track: Children who make slow progress in English, mathematics and science in Key Stage 3; Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2007; Report on  he Scottish Adult Literacy and Numeracy Strategy 2006/2007; and Towards an Effective Adult Learning System: Report on a series of roundtables.



Dyslexia and examinations: Questioning the questions

Victoria Crisp, Martin Johnson and Nadezda Novakoviæ, research officers at Cambridge Assessment, write about research that investigated the impact of features of exam questions on the performance of students with dyslexia.



We report on the latest research and policy news from the Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Reports in this issue include the launch by Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Chris Carter of New Zealand’s new curriculum and the third annual National Literacy Summit in the US.


Demystifying the reluctant reader

Dr Christina Clark, senior policy and research analyst at the National Literacy Trust, and Sarah Osborne, manager of Reading Connects and Reading Champions, report recent survey findings on the importance of the reader self-definition.


Assessing oracy: Storytelling

Claire Hodgson, senior research officer at the National Foundation for Educational Research, reports on some research in Wales on the assessment of pupils’ oracy skills and the differences between English-language and Welsh-language traditions


An international perspective on dyslexia

The New Zealand Ministry of Education is working to better address dyslexia in schools, including producing resources for teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of struggling readers and writers. This involved conducting a literature review on research into dyslexia.


Results from PIRLS 2006

Liz Twist, PIRLS National Research Coordinator at the National Foundation for Educational Research, looks at international results from the latest Performance in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), including the results for England and Scotland.



Media Watch

Press reports covered in this issue include those on Every Child a Writer, the National Family Learning Week, the National Conference on Accelerated Learning, the results of the first year of the primary review, and the Bercow review of provision for young people with speech, language and communication needs.


Research digest

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



We report on parliamentary questions and debates on research into pre-school education, parents helping their children to read, literacy standards in primary school,   UK and Irish sign languages, adult learning in Northern Ireland and dyslexia in Scotland.




National Literacy Trust News

WWE WrestleMania competition; Local authorities at the heart of the National Year of  Reading; New Reading The Game funding; Creating an authority-wide approach to  literacy; and NLT policy discussions.


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