Raising Standards in Literacy

Raising Standards in Literacy

Raising Standards in Literacy

Raising Standards in Literacy

Synopsis

Raising Standards in Literacyrepresents the best current thinking and research about literacy. The book is the outcome of a high-profile series of seminars on raising standards in literacy, and includes contributions from an impressive group of international researchers and policymakers.

By offering a rich and unique mix of contemporary perspectives on literacy education, this book provides an invaluable source of study and insight into the latest research and developments in the teaching of literacy. It includes sections on:

• how research into literacy teaching can inform new approaches found in England, the USA and Australia

• the ways in which literacy education is developing in England, the USA and Australia

• the issues involved in assessing progress in literacy and the validity of research claims made about standards of attainment.

The book celebrates the apparent success of current literacy initiatives at the same time as raising questions about the feasibility and relevance of such initiatives to the literacy co-ordinators and consultants and for all those undertaking further study or research in literacy education.

Excerpt

David Wray

There can be few areas of educational endeavour which have been more controversial than that of teaching literacy. Perhaps because, in an increasingly information-dense society, the ability to make sense of and to produce text is self-evidently crucial to success, even survival, literacy has assumed the major burden as a litmus test of 'educatedness'. With such a critical role in the process of becoming educated, it is inevitable that there will continue to be major debates about exactly what it means to be literate, and about how such a state might most effectively be brought about - that is, how literacy is taught. A proportion of the energy behind such debates has come from the diverse findings of research into processes and pedagogy. Yet much of the debate, especially in the popular media, has lacked a close reference to research findings and has focused instead on somewhat emotional reactions and prejudices.

Students of literacy and literacy education who want to move beyond the superficiality of mass media debates need access to reports and discussions of key research findings. There is plenty such material, yet it tends to suffer from two major problems. First, it can be rather difficult to locate as it has tended to be published in a diverse range of academic journals, papers and monographs. Secondly, research reports are usually written for an academic audience and make great demands on practitioners and others who wish to understand what the practical classroom implications are of what the research reports.

It is to address both these problems, but especially the latter, that this series has been developed. The books in the series deal with aspects of the teaching of literacy and language in a variety of educational settings. The main feature of all the contributing volumes is to provide a research-grounded background for teaching action in literacy and language. The books either, therefore, provide a review of existing research and theory in an area, or an account of original research, together with a clear résumé and/or set of suggestions as to how this background might influence the teaching of this area. The series acts, therefore, as a bridge between academic research books and practical teaching handbooks.

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