Council ‘has tackled illiteracy’

Council ‘has tackled illiteracy’
A council claims to have virtually wiped out illiteracy in its schools. Research charting the 10-year programme in West Dunbartonshire indicates only a handful of children now leave school unable to read properly. By the time they left the council’s seven secondaries to make their way in the world, 20% were still functionally illiterate – defined as a reading age below that of the average child at nine-and-a-half years old. Consultant psychologist Dr Tommy MacKay, who directed the programme, said a key reason for success was a decision to make it happen then a commitment to follow through. A lot of time and thought went into winning the hearts and minds of teachers and pupils so that both groups aimed higher. The programme begins with rhymes and alliteration in nurseries so that children develop an early awareness of sounds.

3 thoughts on “Council ‘has tackled illiteracy’

  1. I heard about this recently but would be interested to get more details. I remember a parent/teacher telling me about the scheme around ten years ago when she was appointed to an ‘early intervention’ post. I think that teaching methods are important but what is often overlooked in the headlines are ‘getting the parents on board’ and the invaluable use of classroom assistants in infant classes.

  2. Update: The original report was presented to the Scottish Educational Research Association conference (130 pages, pdf) in Nov 2006.

    Cited as “Transforming literacy achievement and eradicating reading failure: results of a long-term study”
    Dr Tommy MacKay, Consultant Psychologist, Psychology Consultancy Services, and Lynn Townsend, Service Manager, Education and Cultural Services, West Dunbartonshire Council

    Author email is in the paper.

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