This programme addressed a key priority of the Scottish Government, to close the attainment gap between the most and least deprived children with respect to language and literacy attainment. Recent figures reveal that this gap is proving resistant to change (Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy, 2017).

Our goal was to connect the broad range of stakeholders currently involved in Scottish language and literacy research and practice. The current lack of opportunities for multidisciplinary exchange limits interconnectivity between the existing excellent but highly-specialised knowledge hubs. Our project established a new Scottish Interdisciplinary Language and Literacy network, which provides an inclusive forum for engagement to raise awareness and understanding of spoken and written communication skills.

The programme brought together researchers, policy makers, education leads, practitioners, parents, librarians and third-sector organisations dedicated to supporting language and literacy and closing the attainment gap.

A series of 4 workshops took place to establish dialogue around the following topics:

Workshop 1Developing and enhancing early language through reading

Early years research on screening and intervention combined with work on parental engagement and home-school connections will form a basis for dialogue about effective early language and literacy support from developmental, educational and community perspectives.

Workshop 2Improving early reading acquisition and development

Evidence-based approaches to supporting literacy, including theory-driven interventions for children at-risk of low attainment or with wider attentional/emotional needs was discussed to inform teacher education and community involvement.

Workshop 3Understanding and supporting multilingual language and literacy

Researchers with EAL/multilingual expertise on language/literacy development, assessment and evidence-based intervention gathered to work on new guidance about best practice in EAL/multilingual literacy engagement and instruction.

Workshop 4Motivating and sustaining reading for pleasure

Research on identity and reading motivation was shared alongside studies of the attitudes underlying children’s cognitive and cultural dis/engagement with reading to build interdisciplinary knowledge about reading for pleasure.

Programme Team

Dr Lynne Duncan, University of Dundee
Dr Sarah McGeown, University of Edinburgh
Amina ShahScottish Book Trust
Dr Edward Sosu, University of Strathclyde
Carrol Herbertson, National Parent Forum Scotland
Peter McNaughton, Head of Broad General Education, Fife Council