"Environmental studies, for example, is absolutely crucial for children from disadvantaged backgrounds because astonishingly few come with any knowledge of the world, which is essential to inform reading," Mrs Harrison says. "The issue is a false dichotomy," she adds. "Environmental studies is integral to improving literacy standards."
Developing reading skills also involves early writing, Mrs Harrison stresses. "Teachers have to learn that, at the initial stages, they should not be looking for perfectly formed writing but should be encouraging children to have a go. Pupils often have a mental block about completing level A successfully which prevents them taking risks."
Have A Go is, appropriately, the name of the scheme Glasgow is now using to promote emergent writing.
Theresa Forsyth, headteacher of Drumry primary says there are already spin-offs from the emphasis on literacy. Primary 2 pupils are scoring significantly better in maths which requires as much reading as mathematical skill.