1st Edition

Literacy and Education Policy, Practice and Public Opinion

By Uta Papen Copyright 2016
    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    Literacy is a perennial ‘hot topic’ in Britain and other English-speaking countries. Concerns about falling standards and a ‘literacy crisis’ are frequently raised. In response, governments initiate new policies and teaching guidelines. This book addresses the current policies, practices and media debates in England, the US, Scotland and Australia. Literacy and Education examines:

    • How literacy is taught to children in primary schools;
    • The place of phonics in current policies and the arguments made for and against it;
    • How teachers deliver phonics lessons and how children engage with the method;
    • The range of literacy practices children engage with throughout the school day and how they contribute to literacy learning;
    • The contributions a social and critical perspective on literacy can make to current debates regarding teaching strategies;
    • A wide range of research conducted in the UK, North America, Australia and other countries.

    Bringing together policy, practice and public debate and drawing on the author’s extensive research in a primary school, this essential new textbook provides questions and tasks for readers to engage with. Literacy and Education is ideal for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students of literacy and education and students on PGCE courses. It will also be of interest to researchers and teachers.

    List of figures



    1. Literacy 
    2. Introduction to chapters 2 to 5

    3. From the US to Australia 
    4. ‘Education, education, education’ or ‘phonics, phonics and more phonics’ 
    5. Synthetic phonics and the Phonics Screening Check 
    6. The literacy crisis
    7. Introduction to chapters 6 to 9

    8. C-a-t makes cat
    9. Beyond phonics 
    10. Science, songs and play time
    11. Not phonics and not in school
    12. Conclusions


    Uta Papen

    'Written in a clear, accessible tone, Papen gives us a larger picture of school literacy through a bird’s view of a classroom and she does so with grace and without judgement. Papen is political in a gentle way, balanced in an informed way, and practical in an ideological way. This is an important book that sits on both sides of the reading wars.' Jennifer Rowsell, Brock University, Canada

    'This book sets out to identify the gains and losses from organising literacy teaching that follows the current policy emphasis on synthetic phonics. The books’ particular contribution is the emphasis it gives to the diversity of the literacy curriculum and the opportunities it affords to engage in reading and writing for a purpose.' Gemma Moss, University of Bristol, UK