Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 58, March 2009



Despite the abandonment of Key Stage 3 SATs, the validity of key stage testing is still an important issue.



Two Primary Reviews

Diane Hofkins, formerly primary editor at the TES and now with Education Journal, compares the findings of the Rose Review of the primary curriculum with those of the Cambridge Review, and questions whether the Government will take notice of the latter’s more radical recommendations.


Defending Reading Recovery

Jean Gross, Director of the Every Child a Chance Trust, responds to claims in the December 2008 issue of Literacy Today that the British Government had been “duped” by Reading Recovery.


Owning up to illiteracy

John Izbicki writes about the continuing problem of adult illiteracy in Britain.



Rejecting the indiscriminate use of phonics

Diego Uribe, Adjunct Professor at El Camino College, CCEC in California, argues that British and American governments have ignored teachers’ views when creating policy initiatives prescribing the use of phonics in the teaching of early reading.


Information literacy and school practices

Many schools are now considering jettisoning traditional libraries and a number of academies are opening with no library. But Dr Andrew K Shenton argues that school libraries play a key role in promoting “information literacy”.


National Literacy Trust


Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, on the success of the National Year of Reading and the link between literacy and social mobility.


Enjoyment, confidence and reading: The keys to the success of writing

George Dugdale, Policy Advisor at the National Literacy Trust, writes about a discussion between representatives from a range of organisations on supporting writing in the 21st century.


A manifesto for literacy

The National Literacy Trust aims to lead a national debate on literacy in the run up to an anticipated May 2010 general election. Policy adviser George Dugdale invites contributions to the development of a manifesto for literacy.


Schools rise to the challenge

As part of the 2008 National Year of Reading, many schools took part in the Autumn Schools Challenge, organising various activities to promote reading for pleasure among pupils. This article gives details of the two winners.


Response to the primary review

George Dugdale, Policy Advisor at the National Literacy Trust, responds to the publication of Jim Rose’s interim report on the primary curriculum.


A new year, a new perspective on literacy

Dr Christina Clark, Head of Research at the National Literacy Trust, reports on the latest findings from the Trust’s What’s Hot, What’s Not survey.



Document Reviews

In this issue we review Skills for Life: Progress in improving adult literacy and numeracy from the Public Accounts Committee and The Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum: Interim report from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.



Education for Learners with Dyslexia; Investigating the Impact of Intensive Reading Pedagogy in Adult Literacy; Mark Making Matters: Young children making meaning in all areas of learning and development; Sharing Good Practice in Developing Pupils’ Literacy Skills; Ticking the Right Boxes: A reliable, faster and cheaper alternative to SATs; Who, What, How, and Why?: Profiles, practices, pedagogies, and self-perceptions of adult literacy practitioners; and Learners’ Experience of Work.



How teaching to the test can undermine performance

In light of the announcement that key stage 3 testing has been scrapped, Bill Boyle and Joanna Bragg, of the University of Manchester, argue that measures to increase pupil achievement in the tests had been largely unsuccessful.



We report on the latest research and policy news from Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Reports this issue include adult literacy problems in Canada; Barack Obama’s education plans in the US; illiteracy among Aboriginal children in Australia; and the development of national standards in New Zealand.


Teachers as readers: Building communities of readers

This research, carried out for the United Kingdom Literacy Association, set out to improve teachers’ knowledge and use of literature to help them increase children’s motivation and enthusiasm for reading.


Breaking the cycle of inequality

This report from the OECD concludes that testing, targets and parental choice have perpetuated rather than broken Britain’s cycle of inequality.



Media Watch

The Rose Review’s interim report on the primary curriculum, revised GCSE results, anger over claims that dyslexia is a “cruel fiction”, accusations that exam boards were “spinning” A-level results, more funding for training in phonics teaching, and findings from the Cambridge Primary Review.


Research digest

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



Every Child a Writer, Every Child a Reader and one-to-one reading tuition for looked-after children in the House of Commons; addressing the shortage in early intervention and specialist support offered to children with dyslexia in the Scottish Parliament; and Bookstart programme and the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme in the Northern Ireland Assembly.


<< Back to latest issue