The news that Chris Woodhead's partner, Ruth Miskin, will not be introducing the literacy hour into her school was no doubt greeted with amusement by many teachers across the country.
Indeed the attainment of her pupils, 95 per cent of whom speak English as an additional language, at the end of key stage 1 is very impressive. However, as a Year 6 teacher working in a school where many families speak languages other than English at home, I would be much more interested in the levels achieved by her pupils at the end of key stage 2.
The use of phonics is an important tool in developing early reading skills, but in my experience EAL children find it particularly hard to acquire those inference and deduction skills which are essential to achieving a level 4 in key stage 2 tests.
I therefore believe that the framework of the literacy hour, and shared reading by the whole class in particular, will prove to be important in developing these children's reading skills.
If Ms Miskin's personal literacy strategy features alternative activities for bringing this about, I would be interested to share them.
Christine Morgan Hounslow Heath junior school Cambridge Road Hounslow Middlesex