How Has Literacy in Schools Developed?

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How has literacy in schools developed? There is a wide range of literature presenting the importance of developing strong literacy skills in order to prepare pupils for their future lives. Literacy is not just directly linked to employability, an evident area to which young people must bring the skill of effective communication, but also about functioning in day-to-day life, hence the term “functional literacy” (Gordon, 2007) . However I would also further link high literacy levels with research concerning literacy as inseparable from social justice and democracy (see Cox, cited in Gordon, 2007). If we are not able to communicate effectively with the world in which we live and thus contribute to decisions which affect our lives and those of the people around us then we are never able to fulfil our potential as global citizens. In recent years the importance placed on the development on literacy in schools has increased significantly. Following a renewed focus on literacy in Primary schools caused by the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy (DfEE, 1998a), secondary schools similarly felt the impact with the Review of Secondary Education 1993-97 (DfEE, 1998b) a publication which was met with recognition regarding the developments in literacy which needed to be made by secondary schools (Lewis & Wray, 2000). However this focus on the importance of developing literacy skills in the literature can be linked back as far as the publication of the Bullock Report (Lewis & Wray, 2000), in which historical context outlines the deficiency in many adults’ command of the English Language. Since the publication of the aforementioned strategies and reviews, many initiatives promoting literacy in secondary schools have been imp... ... middle of paper ... recent years (Logan and Johnston, 2009), an issue which is of particular relevance when considering the aforementioned literature discussing boy’s reading habits and achievement. As such, this study’s aims to focus on boys’ literacy development, particularly considering reading for pleasure: namely the ways in which it is promoted and developed throughout the school, and the boys’ attitude and motivation towards this skill. In order to gain data concerning both teachers’ and students’ viewpoints regarding the effectiveness of literacy strategies throughout the curriculum the main research methods employed in this study are interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. Following analysis of the data I will then discuss future recommendations for the school’s literacy initiatives and reflect on my own professional development in light of the findings.

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