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Book time at the pictures

National English test results arrived in primary schools this week and will reach secondaries in August. If scores go up, people will say literacy has improved. If they go down, literacy will have, too.

But what is literacy in the 21st century? Is it defined by narrow and easily testable measures? A British Film Institute conference next week will argue that literacy should extend beyond books and reading. Film, which has been with us for more than 100 years, also teaches children about narrative, character and emotional truths. Participants will recommend 10 films that every child should see by the age of 14. TES readers' top 10 (page 15) is less international than the BFI's, but is definitely redeemed by the presence of Mary Poppins. Dick van Dyke's cod cockney accent should be shared with generations yet unborn.

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