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Letters extra: real reading

I write in response to the Opinion article "Keep reading real" in last week's TES .

I am pleased to hear that Graham Frater is in favour of the literacy strategy and to hear of good practice in the classrooms he has observed.

I am disappointed, however, to hear his criticism of the strategy in that some pupils are studying progress units which are inapplicable to their need; the example cited was the unit on capital letters and full stops. He claims that "The unit took no account of where these pupils were, yet the teacher felt obliged to work through the series as it stands."

I would suggest that perhaps his criticism should not be levelled at the strategy but rather at the schools in which he has witnessed this practice. The progress units are to be followed by pupils who have deficiencies in some aspects of literacy; if a pupil does not have a weakness in this area then it is inappropriate for them to study that particular unit. This seems to me to reflect an unclear management strategy on the part of individual schools. As the caption to the picture accompanying the article states "secondary schools would be wise to adapt the literacy strategy, rather than follow it to the letter". This is the message of literacy consultants across the country.

On the matter of the de-contextualisation of grammatical tasks in order to offer "remedial" assistance to the pupils I am in agreement with him entirely. The units do not make transference of skills explicit and this is an area for development that,nbsp; I hope, the NLS working party are addressing.

Louise Loxton

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