The literacy hour sets the pace

26th May 2000 at 01:00
The latest reports examined by Reva Klein

Children respond positively to the literacy hour when teachers display confidence and are encouraging in their attitude. However, while some teachers report that it has boosted children's confidence, others say it prevents teachers from using their expertise.

Since its national introduction in September 1998, the National Literacy Strategy has made a major impact on how primary schools organise their teaching of English and other subjects. As a result, more discrete subject teaching is taking place.

Time has become of the essence with the introduction of NLS. To accommodate the lit-eracy hour, schools have had to adopt strategies that make the most efficent use of their time.

One practice that has gone is the time-honoured tradition of listening to individual pupils read. Parents and teachers critical of dropping it say that if children are not listened to, there is a danger of overlooking those who are lagging behind in their reading.

Teachers report that the problematic aspect of the literacy hour that they find most difficult is group work; many say they are unsure of how to go about it.

Collaborative group work is rare and is usually superseded by individual work.

Implementing the National Literacy Strategy: How Are Teachers Managing? by Dr Sue Beverton, Durham University. For more details e-mail: S.L.Beverton@

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