Motivation and self-confidence vital to childhood literacy, reports find
A SERIES of new reports highlight the importance of children’s motivation and self-confidence when it comes to developing literacy skills.
They also point to the need for parents and teachers to create a culture of reading and writing for pleasure.
The reports prepared for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on children’s language and literacy were published yesterday by Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn.
The reports also point to the importance and potential of new technologies in giving children opportunities to use different kinds of texts from a very young age.
The researchers were asked to examine the evidence from successful approaches to supporting children’s literacy from across the world, and from recent Irish projects in early childhood and primary education.
Based on their reviews, they were asked to suggest how the council needs to shape the integrated language curriculum for primary schools, which is scheduled for completion for infant classes in 2014.
Their findings are also important for work supporting the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. Key findings include:
* a culture of reading and writing in print and digital formats from a young age is important in developing positive attitudes to literacy;
* children learn language for pragmatic and practical reasons – to communicate with other children, with adults, and to interact with print and digital texts;
* teachers and early childhood practitioners need to balance enabling and directing in their work with children;
* reading comprehension is a technical skill that needs to be explicitly taught and supported by oral language work.
Welcoming the reports, Mr Quinn said: “I have identified children’s literacy as a priority area for our education system, and it is important that what we do, and the decisions we make, are based on solid evidence and research. These reports offer us that evidence.’’ He added that: “We need to move beyond the view that technology is the enemy of literacy to recognising the potential of digital texts of all kinds to support literacy.”