Secondary misdiagnosis

17th March 2000 at 00:00
IAIN MacDonald's article shows a serious lack of knowledge about the National Literacy Strategy which I hope is not replicated in secondary schools across England.

He quotes punctuation objectives while ignoring the text-level ones which form a major part of what is to be taught. More seriously, he misses the point completely about how teachers use the framework objectives in lessons.

That is, with many of the later objectives, we are introducing language features to our classes but do not have unrealistic expectations about children using them. The literacy-hour structure provides for grammar, and punctuation to be practised a little and often and, most importantly, in contet.

Any competent teacher knows that there is no single way to teach reading and writing. We want to enthuse and motivate children to explore how good writers use language. To many, the structure of language is pure poetry and whereas they might never write the most effective creative text, they will understand how others do it and learn to construct non-

fiction texts confidently.

Awareness of language is one of the first steps on the road to competence in reading and writing and will result in pupils appreciating Shakespeare and Jane Austen all the more.

Sue Smith Airey

Literacy consultant

36 Woolley Street

Bradford on Avon


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