Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today is a quarterly magazine that provides a unique cross-sector perspective, from early years to continuing education, on current literacy issues across practice, policy and research.

It reports on successful literacy teaching practices, exciting initiatives involving the arts and libraries and the reporting of research which informs literacy practices.


Each issue includes feature articles, a substantial research section, reviews of major reports, conference reports, media coverage of literacy, document and research digests, abstracts of papers relevant to literacy published in academic journals and reports of parliamentary debates on literacy.

The magazine has always reported on activity outside the UK, but from September 2005 this increased to regular coverage in every issue of literacy developments in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.


Literacy Today was first published by the National Literacy Trust in October 1994. In 1999 the Trust invited the Education Publishing Company to publish the magazine on its behalf, with the Trust retaining editorial control. In 2005 the partnership between the Trust and EPC changed, as EPC took on editorial responsibility with the Trust continuing to be involved as it is at present. Literacy Today continues to carry news of the Trust and articles written or suggested by it.


Literacy Today is published in March, June, September and December. The contents of the current issue follows. For the contents of previous issues from recent years please go to the bottom of this page. For information on issues prior to those given below, please go to the website of the National Literacy Trust using this link:   


Literacy Today No. 67, December 2011





Adult literacy: where are we now?

Lord Boswell of Aynho writes about his report on adult literacy, arguing that, while the objective of universal adult literacy should be clear, the nature of the problem is increasingly complex and is not fitted to simplistic approaches or slogans.


Basic skills are innocent, OK?

As Alan Tuckett retires after 23 years as head of NIACE, he told Tony Uden what had stuck most in his mind about basic skills and what he thought we might have lost.


The importance of a specialist visual assessment in a child showing signs of dyslexia

Romana Hashim, MCOptom, Ophthalmic Director and Specialist Optometrist at The Eye Academy, considers the importance of a specialist visual assessment in a child showing signs of dyslexia.



U-turn as Inquiry confirms worst fears over future of ESOL

Ian Nash reports on developments over the summer following the Government’s investigation into the effects of planned cuts to language teaching.


National Literacy Trust

Literacy is everybody’s business

Abigail Ross of the National Literacy Trust emphasises the importance of engaging with the whole community when tackling the cycle of low literacy among families.


Adult skills survey results

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published the results of its 2011 Skills for Life Survey, which found that the number of people with relatively poor literacy skills had declined since the last survey in 2003.



Document Reviews

We review The Annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2010-11 from Ofsted, Report of the Inquiry into Overcoming Barriers to Literacy, which is the final report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education, and Work, Society and Lifelong Literacy: Report of the Inquiry into Adult Literacy in England, from NIACE.



Does texting lead to poor literacy skills?

With research claiming that 96 per cent of schoolchildren own a mobile phone, Dr Hélène Deacon and Sarah Whitzman review research testing the claim that texting is harmful to children’s literacy skills.



We report on the latest research and policy news from Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. This includes research showing a strong link between primary school children’s use of text abbreviations and improved literacy in the US, and the results of the latest Early Years study in Canada.


International adult literacy policies

This report, compiled by the National Adult Literacy Agency in Ireland, explores research on adult literacy policies and initiatives in Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, England and the US. It found that, in the research on adult literacy policies in each country, a range of themes and messages appeared.


Information literacy + reading skills = successful information behaviour

Dr Andrew K Shenton argues that, despite the rapid growth in children’s use of technology, in and outside of the classroom, the ability to effectively read printed materials is still essential.


Basic skills still woefully lacking, survey shows

Ian Nash presents responses to the Government’s publication of results from the Skills for Life survey.


Explaining how language works: is there a place for terminology?

Debra Myhill, Susan Jones, Helen Lines and Annabel Watson of Exeter University report on a large-scale research study into the impact of teaching ‘grammar for writing’ to Year 8 students.


Research Digest

Ongoing research, article abstracts and article titles of research from education and science journals.



Media Watch

Key Stage 2 results reveal that 67 per cent of primary school children achieved the expected level 4 standard in reading, writing and maths; researchers claim that the current teacher training system is wasting taxpayers’ money; GCSEs are to return to the traditional model of end-of-course exams; school absence figures are published; and children entered early for GCSEs do worse than other children.



Debates on the PISA league tables and the results from the TIMSS study, and the teaching of primary literacy and numeracy in Westminster; a statement on literacy in the Welsh Assembly; and a private members’ business debate on libraries in the Northern Ireland Assembly. We also feature answers to written parliamentary questions on phonics, special educational needs,the breadth of the National Curriculum, the role of vision control problems in children’s reading difficulties, and the performance of boys at GCSE.


For the contents of previous issues please click on the link below:


Literacy Today No.66 Click here
Literacy Today No.65 Click here


Literacy Today No.64 Click here
Literacy Today No.63 Click here
Literacy Today No.62 Click here


Literacy Today No.61 Click here
Literacy Today No.60 Click here
Literacy Today No.59 Click here
Literacy Today No.58 Click here


Literacy Today No.57 Click here
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Literacy Today No.53 Click here
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Literacy Today No.49 Click here
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Literacy Today No.41 Click here
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Literacy Today No.37 Click here
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Literacy Today No.34 Click here