Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 60, September 2009





Writing about film

Sophie Ivan, freelance journalist and part of FILMCLUB’s Schools Support team, writes about how engaging children in the study of film can help them to improve their literacy skills.


Catch up literacy for children in care

Wayne Holmes, Head of Communications at Catch Up, a structured one-to-one intervention for struggling readers, details the results of two pilot studies for an intervention designed to specifically support children in care who struggle to learn to read.


National Literacy Trust


Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, explains why the soon-to-be abandoned National Strategies were not all bad, and writes about the role of literacy in community cohesion.


A Manifesto is born

Suzy Rigg, Policy and Communications Manager at the National Literacy Trust, announces the launch of the Trust’s Manifesto for literacy in September.


The Dore Programme

David Brookes writes about the potential benefits of the Dore programme’s unorthodox exercise regime for those suffering from learning difficulties such as dyslexia.


Children should be reading whole books

Research commissioned by publisher Heinemann has revealed that one in eight children have never read an entire book in class, while one in five read only one per year.



Document Reviews

We review Implementation of 14-19 Reforms, Including the Introduction of Diplomas; Family Learning: An evaluation of the benefits of family learning for participants, their families and English at the Crossroads: An evaluation of English in primary and secondary schools from Ofsted, and The Impact of RAISE 2008-09: Evaluation of the impact of RAISE funding on raising the levels of performance of disadvantaged pupils from Estyn.



The Achievement of Australia’s Indigenous Students in PISA 2000-2006; Achievement Gaps: How Black and White students in public schools perform in mathematics and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress; Adult Literacy and Numeracy: Research and future strategy; Studies in Language Testing 29: Examining Reading – research and practice in assessing second language reading.




We report on the latest research and policy news from Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Reports  this issue include the release of US student rankings in the three main international assessments of student achievement, evidence that toddlers from talkative homes are given a huge advantage when it comes to learning in Canada, a lack of support for dyslexic students in New Zealand, and the threat of industrial action industrial action to block the publication of school league tables in Australia.


Teacher involvement in reading: encouraging children’s interest, motivation and comprehension

Within the framework of a reading assessment, what are the most effective ways in which teachers encourage children to read to the best of their ability? Kathryn Wilkinson, research officer at the National Foundation for Educational Research, reports on a recent research study.


Young people’s writing: enjoyment, attitudes and behaviour – Initial findings

Dr Christina Clark, Head of Research at the National Literacy Trust, outlines the key findings from a recent NLT survey of young people’s writing attitudes and behaviour.


Inspiring independent learning

Dr Andrew K. Shenton, a former primary schoolteacher, and Wendy Beautyman, of Northumbria University, report on research into what it is that sparks children’s curiosity and how that curiosity can be nurtured to improve children’s information literacy.


The effect of music lessons on literacy

The Government has recently launched the National Year of Music, which began in September 2009. Following on from Dr Joseph Piro’s article in the June issue of Literacy Today, we report on research from Susan Hallam, of the University of London Institute of Education, which provides further evidence on the power of music to aid children’s learning.


Research Digest

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



Media Watch

Further controversy surrounding the marking of key stage one tests, NASUWT’s objection to the Training and Development Agency for Schools’ drive to boost the number of male primary teachers, criticism of the Welsh Assembly’s Raise Attainment and Individual Standards in Education programme, Foundation Stage profile results and claims that school performance tables should be published with a ‘health warning’



Improving literacy in primary schools, specialist dyslexia teachers, National Challenge schools and improving skill levels in the House of Commons, and literacy and numeracy tests and dyslexia diagnosis in the Scottish Parliament.


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