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English - Blogs to boost boys' literacy

What's it all about?

Specific learning difficulty tutor Ceri Williams was inspired to try blogging in his classroom after hearing a lecture on the subject at the 2010 Microsoft Partners in Learning forum in Manchester. Now he recommends it to boost boys' literacy.

Pupils use blogs to review their favourite games, football matches or maybe just the latest teen trend. They type into a simple text editor, which has a spellcheck to help them perfect their work.

"All my pupils have literacy difficulties such as dyslexia. Finding articles and sites that interest them encourages them to read," says Mr Williams.

He says the thought that their writing might be read by strangers online means they take greater care over presentation; they proofread carefully and double-check spellings. The positive feedback many have received from people they have never met has increased their confidence.

Mr Williams recommends using www.primaryblogger.co.uk. This site allows teachers to check pupils' work before they publish it, and comments can be monitored before they appear on the site.

What else?

First News, a newspaper for 8-14s, launched in 2006, celebrated its 300th issue recently, having been named best national newspaper by the Plain English Campaign.

It offers young people a weekly breakdown of the latest news stories in an entertaining and accessible format.

"It informs, educates, entertains, explains and analyses young people's concerns, in a way that no other newspaper does," says co-founder Piers Morgan.

For the past week's big stories, check out the video bulletins from First News and Sky News on TES Resources. First News also shares analysis and writing resources to help you train the journalists of the future.

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