Closing the Reading Gap

Arguing about English

Everyone has an opinion on the teaching of English, its curriculum, along with our national qualifications. Not just teachers: parents, policy makers, and pupils, all have an argument at the ready.  Of course, most of us have stumbled through an analysis of Shakespeare, or grumbled over the peculiarities of grammar at one time or another, …

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The ‘Language Leap’ at Transition

The importance of tending to pupils at the transition between primary and secondary school is well-established. The obvious focus, understandably, attends to the pastoral needs of pupils: making them feel safe and secure in their new ‘big school’ surroundings. Crucially, there is also an increasing recognition that making curriculum connections and charting the ‘language leap’ …

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Does reading *really* matter in mathematics?

Every teacher recognises that every subject is mediated by reading skill, but it matters in some more than others, right? Does it really matter that much in maths? When I speak to teachers, or those school leaders responsible for aspects of literacy whole school, the refrain they often relate is that reading simply doesn’t matter so much …

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Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Literacy

When I started teaching nearly two decades ago, I was a teacher of reading, writing, vocabulary, academic talk, and more. The problem was that I could do reading and writing, but I had little idea how to systematically teach the development of these vital skills.  Yes – I could model some writing and offer some …

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Do We Need to Sort Out Silent Reading?

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) or ERIC (Everyone Reads in Class) are very common approaches to independent reading that occur each week in countless schools. They are part of the fabric of the school day and can prove a cornerstone of a rich reading culture. The rationale for implementing sustained opportunities for repeated independent reading …

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Covid-19 and the Literacy ‘Matthew Effect’

“For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matthew, 25:29 Six months ago everything changed. Covid-19 crashed into our consciousness and schools were closed for all but a few pupils. Ever since, school teachers …

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