Teaching Literacy in the Primary School

Topics: Writing, Language, Reading Pages: 6 (2040 words) Published: January 21, 2014
Language and Literacy
All elements of literacy are inter-related. This essay will examine the reading process and how the teaching of speaking, listening, writing and reading all influence pupils’ development in many ways. One pupil’s language and literacy development will be explored in this context, with a particular emphasis on his reading progression. Literacy is the ability to use language to communicate one’s ideas expressively, through speaking and writing and receptively, through listening and reading. (Palmer, S 2003). The Department for Education (2012) explains that pupils’ acquisition of language allows them to access learning across the curriculum. Notably, reading aids pupil’s development culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Since 1988 and the introduction of the National Curriculum, the government have overseen the teaching of English and literacy in schools. It was not until the publication of The Rose Review in 2006 however, that a standard strategy for teaching reading was devised. In his report, Rose reviewed the way early reading was taught and advised that all children should have a secure foundation of phonics knowledge so that they are able to link graphemes to phonemes and blend these into words. As a result, it became statutory for schools to use a daily, systematic, synthetic style of teaching phonics. To help schools instigate this new teaching style, the Communication, Language and Literacy Development Plan (CLLD) was introduced in 2006. Local authorities were given trained consultants, often teachers, who could model high quality phonics teaching and ensure the findings of the Rose Review were implemented effectively. Ofsted (2010) reported, that several schools, from a sample demonstrating ‘outstanding’ practice in their teaching of early literacy, used a scheme such as ‘Letters and Sounds’, published by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in 2007. These schemes initially teach phonemes alongside their written representation (graphemes), followed by the skill of blending and segmenting graphemes to write and decode individual words. It is widely recognised that the teaching of phonics enables children to decode words, but does not teach an understanding of vocabulary. The skill of decoding is not enough to enable children to read effectively. Rose (2006) also observed this in his review, “Different kinds of teaching are needed to develop word recognition skills from those that are needed to foster the comprehension of written and spoken language.” Wyse and Parker (2010), cited by the Institute of Education (2012), argue in favour of “contextualised teaching”, which begins by looking at whole texts that pupils can relate to, thus motivating them to read independently. They claim that although important, the teaching of phonics, in a way where it is exaggerated above all other elements, comes with serious risk and that children’s language skills develop best through classroom talk. Until recently, the importance of Speaking and Listening was overlooked by many schools. Ofsted (2005) reported that the teaching of speaking and listening had been neglected and the range of contexts in which children are given the opportunity to converse with their peers was constrained. It is crucial to understand that as each strand of literacy is equally important, a child who struggles to communicate verbally will have difficulty in communicating or understanding concepts in written form. Douglas (2009) observes, “…Speaking and listening skills underpin all learning and are the start of all other literacy skills.” Rose (2006) observed, “Schools provide massive opportunities and unique advantages for developing speaking and listening skills.” Activities such as talking partners develop children’s vocabulary by getting them to share their ideas about set questions in short bursts, throughout the lesson. This technique can be integrated into the teaching of any concept across the...
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