Primary Conference: Literacy by Stealth

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What are the best ways to harness popular culture to improve the literacy and life chances of all primary aged children?

Building on the success of our inaugural primary conference, Everyone back to school: literacy by stealth, our new conference explores how transcending barriers between school and home can support Education Recovery following school closures. A panel of experts including special guests from industry and academia, leading children’s authors and practitioners will share insights on the wealth of cultural experiences which can enhance spoken language, reading and writing.

Many primary school-aged children have missed out on six months of face-to-face teaching during school closures (Sibieta, 2021) and studies have found a learning loss of up to two months (DfE, 2021), with decreases in scores for schools with high percentages of pupils eligible for free school meals approximately twice as severe (Blainey et al., 2021).

At the same time, our own research with children and young people has demonstrated an opportunity to build on activity during the lockdowns to engage children with a greater range of activities in order to increase reading and writing enjoyment, and help them catch up on learning. For example:

  • Our research report, Children and young people’s writing in 2021, recorded the lowest rate of writing enjoyment since 2010. However, the research also found that 1 in 2 (53.0%) of children and young people say that they write in their free time because it helps them feel creative and express their ideas and imagination (48.0%), while 2 in 5 (38.3%) say writing makes them feel better.
  • Our July 2021 report, The role of audiobooks to engage reluctant readers and underrepresented children and young people, found that 1 in 5 (21.7%) children and young people said that listening to an audiobook or podcast has got them interested in reading books, and more children and young people who enjoy listening say that they also enjoy reading, compared with children who do not enjoy listening (58.3% vs. 46.1%).
  • Our research looking into, Children’s and young people’s video game playing and literacy in 2021, found that many enjoyed a variety of activities during free time at home, including reading, writing, physical activity and socialising alongside video game playing. Video games were also an important means of communicating with peers, with in-game messages being the second most popular type of on-screen reading in 8 to 18-year-olds (87.5% read in-game messages, while 92.4% read personal/direct messages).

We believe, then, that it is vital to explore activities that engage children from all backgrounds to ensure they enter secondary school with the speaking, reading and writing skills necessary to fulfil their potential, develop their interests and have positive life outcomes.

Full speaker list coming soon.

Day 1 - Wednesday 24 November, 16.00 - 18.00

We will kick off the conference with an exploration of literacy by stealth from a panel of experts and a keynote. More details coming soon.

Day 2 - Thursday 25 November, 16.00 - 18.00

On the second day of the conference, we will explore the role of the media in enhancing primary literacy with a focus on film, television and news platforms. More details coming soon.

Day 3 - Friday 26 November, 16.00 - 18.00

We will round off the conference by exploring how to make primary literacy more inclusive, and present on the initiatives taking place in publishing and the media to enhance literacy and access to quality books and learning tools for all children.

Cost and booking

Bookings cost £50.00 per person, with a 50% discount per booking for premium National Literacy Trust members. One booking provides access to all planned sessions.

Book your place using the form below. For more information, contact Ruth King.