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E801: Action 1.1: Research and the National Literacy Strategy

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Action 1.18: Research and the National Literacy Strategy

Beard, R. (2000) Research and the National Literacy Strategy. In Solar, J., Fletcher-Campbell, F. & Reid, G. (2009) Understanding Difficulties in Literacy Development: Issues and Concepts. London, Sage.

Retrospective justification for research drawn upon by NLS

Concern over literacy standards

  • Moral panic in press
  • Political pressure, 1997 was an election year when Labour came to power

International/national comparisons impact on initiatives

  • Competitive - England had 'long tail' but needs to be considered against cultural and linguistic biases
  • Slavin (1997) working in US influenced NLS - but he adds in early intervention

School Effectiveness Research

  • Measured by progress cf intake
  • Structured teaching and whole class teaching to maximise teacher attention - effective learning time

Structured and whole class teaching superior to individualised teaching?

With huge classes and few qualified teaching assistants then it has to be structured and whole class but I would not agree it was superior.

Accumulated Inspection Evidence - importance in future policies

I tend to think that political considerations and moral panic in the press are more likely to influence future policies than the more impartial evidence of the accumulation of inspection evidence. I would not agree that the inspections are completely apolitical as the government directs the inspection criteria.


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E801: Action 1.10: Models of Reading in the National Literacy Strategy

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E801: Action 1.10: Models of Reading in the National Literacy Strategy

Introduction: definitions of literacy and approaches to reading

I had to read and re-read this. I was horrified! I just hope individual teachers vary their approach to suit individual learners more than these guidelines suggest. How on earth do they expect reception class to all be ready for writing? Some of them have very limited vocabularies and cannot colour match. If colour matching is not yet mastered, how can they discern letter shapes and copy them? It is my understanding that becoming able to write is a process that comes into play much later than reading. It certainly was with all my children so why is it introduced at the same time?

Literacy hour and its structure

An hour, when universities keep their sessions to 45-50 mins to improve concentration? There are several reports that suggest that young children have a maximum attention span of 30 mins and this is when they already understand the material and they are interested and engaged. This has a lot of implications for the method of whole class teaching which includes those who are struggling with the concept or disinterested as it does not contain material they are interested in or the material is outside their reach.

What is the model for teaching reading and the associated approaches to the teaching of reading that are advocated in this document?

Searchlights model - explained by a simple diagram with a circle labelled text in the middle of the page. Around it are four boxes: phonics; grammatical knowledge; word recognition and graphic knowledge; and knowledge of content. From each box an arrow points to the text in the middle - showing that readers can use four aspects in their reading. It gives the impression that the techniques are equally useful but Ofsted (4 years after introduction of the NLS) reported that the searchlights should fall in different places at different stages of learning to read.

Accessed from: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=2213282 [2nd November 2010]

What could be some of the problems of implementing 'interactive whole-class teaching' for children who have difficulties in literacy?

  • Comparison to other children
  • Competition
  • Work done by more able children

What do you feel are the implications of these aspects of the NLS for students with special educational needs?

I commented above  on some of my thoughts but I think that this quote says it all!

A small study of teacher and pupils discourse in the literacy hour showed that the longest utterances were made by the teacher with only 2% of pupil utterances exceeding ten words and 90% of these being no longer than five words. For children with special educational needs, nearly 90% of their utterances were of one to three words. The contributions made by children with SEN were not only fewer than might be expected from their numbers in the class, they also tended to be of the shortest length. (Lee and Eke, 2004)

Accessed from: http://www.ite.org.uk/ite_topics/special_needs_KS1-2/013.html [2nd November 2010]


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