Literacy hour to replace reading

3rd July 1998 at 01:00
My staff are demonstrably among the best teachers of early reading in the country, Our national results at key stage 1 have been 97 to 100 per cent for eight consecutive years. Yet we are under enormous pressure to adopt the literacy hour.

We have been told that promotion prospects will be adversely affected if we do not change our methods. My teachers are being made to feel guilty because they are not "co-operating" with the moves to raise standards.

Only a few junior schools have taught reading in a structured way. Because any teaching is better than none, there will undoubtedly be an improvement in key stage 2 reading by 2001. At KS1, however, the literacy hour could lower standards in high-achieving schools.

Our teaching methods include all the strategies from the literacy hour files, other than the inflexible timing. But structured and regular individual reading and a parental partnership are crucial. LEA trainers are steering teachers away from these two elements, and they do so at their peril. No amount of class teaching and group reading will lead to the progress shown by children who make a sustained daily effort to read alone.

Mrs PJ Kingston. Stoneleigh first school. Epsom, Surrey

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