Headline: “Weak readers struggle more in maths than in English lit”

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Further evidence of the importance of literacy on GCSE outcomes was published earlier this year with the conclusion that “Children who are weak readers will struggle as much in maths and science at GCSE as they do in English and in arts subjects.” Links to a summary of the research can be found here and also in the TES go on to identify that

“while there is a significant connection between reading ability and success in all GCSE subjects, the link between good reading and good grades is actually higher in maths than in some arts subjects like English literature and history. Exams (of all subjects) now tend to include wordier questions which, according to the report authors, will prove problematic for a significant minority of students with a low reading age.”

With this importance of literacy to all subjects, it’s worth taking a look at the EEF’s resources on promoting literacy. 

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As well as a useful guide to key literacy terms, they have produced a poster indicating the key recommendations for improving literacy in secondary schools. I think it’s interesting that the first point is to ‘prioritise disciplinary literacy’ – i.e. to focus on the key literacy requirements of each subject. 

So, question to think about for teachers of any subject would be…

What specific literacy skills are needed to be successful in my subject?