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The use of evidence in language and literacy teaching

Ellis, Sue (2010) The use of evidence in language and literacy teaching. In: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Learning to Read: Culture, Cognition and Pedagogy. Routledge Psychology in Education . Routledge, London, pp. 193-207. ISBN 9780415561242

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Abstract

Literacy education deserves evidence-based decisions. Low literacy costs the British economy between £1.73bn and £2.05bn per year (KPMG 2006) and the social and emotional costs are equally high. Yet we know that children who struggle with literacy can make fast progress when the instructional content and pedagogy closely match their needs. This chapter describes some of the paradigms and problems associated with the use of evidence in language and literacy education with examples from specific interventions and programmes. It raises issues about how literacy teachers are professionalized to attend to evidence, both the evidence in front of them and the research evidence 'out there'. It argues that to support teachers in using evidence effectively, we need to frame the research evidence about effective content, pedagogy and learning in ways that recognize the power and limitations of different evidence paradigms. To ensure that all children make fast progress, we need to appreciate how teachers develop broad and diagnostic understandings of literacy and literacy learning and of how policy and curriculum frameworks impact on the classroom decisions they make.