Wragg's sirenvoice off-key;Letter

24th April 1998 at 01:00
Ted Wragg's article on the literacy hour (TES backpage, April 3) was typically amusing. Amid implicit support for the national literacy strategy and explicit support for teaching phonics, he trivialised the literacy hour because it proposes a consistent structure for teachers.To answer his two points.

First, the work covered through the literacy hour includes shared and guided reading and writing, the explicit and regular teaching of phonics, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and sentence construction, a balance of fiction and non-fiction work, the systematic use of children's reading to structure and inform their writing.

The literacy hour provides a lesson structure which emphasises clear, direct, interactive teaching, allows for the carefully differentiated teaching of groups, promotes independence and engages children in reflection, practice and consolidation.

It also increases the average amount of time pupils spend being taught literacy very substantially. All these elements come with strong credentials, some of which are reflected in research and development studies from Ted's own university.

Second, he doesn't like the timings of the literacy hour, not even the approximate timings, notwithstanding the fact that they provide a practical structure for teaching literacy and are proving successful in the national literacy project.

No one is saying there is only one way of achieving the same ends. If some schools want to do it differently they should be allowed to but they will be expected to provide a comparable structure which can be justified in terms of time, focused teaching, a balance of work, continuity and progression for pupils and, of course, hitting or exceeding the school's agreed literacy targets.

There is value in diversity but not as an excuse for doing nothing. If it's going to be different, it needs to be better.

John Stannard Director National literacy strategy 59-65 London Street Reading

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today