Session 249: The Greatest Barriers to Raising Literacy Standards across the Curriculum

And how can they be addressed?

#UKEdChat was hosted by @HeadofEnglish asked “What are the greatest barriers to raising literacy standards across the curriculum & how can they be addressed?”


This was explored with the following questions:

1. What are the most common literacy issues in your subject? (8.01 pm)

2. Whose responsibility is improving students’ literacy? (8.11 pm)

3. In your experience, what are the greatest barriers to raising literacy standards across the curriculum? (8.21 pm)

4. How can school leaders create a culture in which literacy is valued? (8.31 pm)

5. How can schools engage parents and carers in order to raise standards in literacy? (8.41 pm)

6. In your experience, what is the most effective strategy for improving literacy? (8.51 pm)


Barriers to literacy which were identified included students not reading for pleasure, not writing in full sentences, and confusing spoken and written grammar. However, this broadened further with the first question asking what the most common literacy issues in your subject, aimed across the subject spectrum.

The challenge of not being able to read was suggested as one frustration, however @HecticTeacher revealed, “Answering in a full sentence and third person, unwillingness to read aloud. This is for History and PSHE”, but a lack of pupils reading ‘for pleasure’ remains a concern to many. The concern of reading infiltrates into mathematics also as @Mr_G_Walton pointed out, “students in maths often “ignore the words” and pick out the numbers, often answering the wrong question” which is very frustrating when the child has the mathematical ability. But the perception of, “the belief that literacy is only about spelling and is only the responsibility of the English department” is a concern noted by Natalie Scott.

The usual suspects popped up, in common errors such as “they’re/there/their”, but with the recent focus on SPaG an understanding the terms (subordinate clause! semicolon! adjectives!) but a confusion of the application where terminology seems to have taken precedence over understanding (TeacherWithBike).

The next focus explored whose responsibility is improving students’ literacy, with contributors firmly agreeing that literacy is the responsibility of all teachers regardless of subject. Many broadened this to the wider community and there was discussion about the role of librarians and parents in encouraging students to read, for example. Fran Platt considered, “I think it starts at home with a love of books and stories. Then it’s the class teacher with support of all staff.” This is true throughout the school, whether primary, secondary or even further up the education field. In fact, Calamity Teacher argued, “Everyone’s responsibility. If you do nothing else in a lesson; teach them a word and correct their speech if there are mistakes.

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3195 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

1 Comment

  1. Not one mention of handwriting?! We find that when children are taught the skill of handwriting, they can then access all of the curriculum coherently.

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