This is the reference list for the two sessions we ran at ResearchED English and MFL at Oxford on 1 April 2017. The first session, Wars and Waste, outlined the extent and cost of illiteracy, and the reasons for its continued existence. The second, It's Not Too Late, looked at how illiteracy can be eliminated even at the secondary school level.
It is possible to develop a richer reading culture without resorting to expensive and artificial software 'solutions'. Ensuring that ownership of the process stays with teaching staff, and that students can respond to texts in a wide variety of ways, are key to making reading a normal part of students' lives.
Students can respond to independently read texts in many more ways than just answering quizzes. If we want reading to become an integral part of the whole school experience, it is essential to give students opportunities to participate a wide range of activities.
We often test comprehension, but how do we teach it? In the so-called reading wars, all sides agree on one thing: comprehension is the goal of reading. However, whole language, meaning-first proponents work from the assumption that reading is language, which is a fatally misconceived notion.
The problem of students leaving secondary school unable to read is an unnecessary tragedy. This entirely preventable situation is exacerbated by some common misconceptions.