Write Minded

Write Minded (aimed at children aged 4-18, families, schools, education centres and community)

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 The Balanced Literacy Framework is based on syntheses of wide-ranging of educational research indicating the approaches are effective in improving literacy outcomes and providing guidance on how to successfully implement practices. The Balanced Literacy Framework starts from the premise that effective approaches can teach most children to read and write well. In the context of the strategy in Ballymun, this is applied in school, family and community settings.

A number of key pieces of evidence underpin the Write Minded strategy. The evidence is drawn from a range of empirical studies and other international research.

  • Focus on the what and how much: Content and time matter

 The content of instruction is fundamental in children's literacy outcomes. Extensive research has demonstrated the key skills and abilities that are essential to literacy development:

  • Word knowledge:
    sight vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, word meanings
  • Reading fluency:
    speed, accuracy, and expression in the reading of connected text
  • Reading comprehension:
    understanding text and learning from text
  • Writing:
    composition of texts effectively for a variety of purposes.

Studies also clearly show that increases in academic learning time can improve reading achievement with recommendations ranging from 2-3 hours in primary school. It is crucial therefore to ensure that children receive sufficient amounts of teaching in each of the four key areas.

  • Pedagogy matters: invest in the quality of teaching

 International research evidence identifies particular classroom strategies and teaching methodologies that work across different subjects and educational phases to deliver improved literacy and learning outcomes. The evidence points to the need for professional development to be embedded in classroom settings for effective practices to be sustained. To this end, teachers need to be supported and coached in order to bring evidence-based approaches and instructional strategies into the classroom. To make the most effective use of these literacy interventions, it is important to ensure that pupils' progress is closely monitored and that strategies are appropriately directed.

  • Parents play a central role in children's literacy learning

Research has consistently shows that parenting practices can have a significant positive effect on children's learning. Strategies to foster parental engagement in their children's learning include supporting learning at home, school-home and home-school communication, in-school activities, decision making and collaborating with the community. The earlier parents become involved in their children's literacy learning, the more profound the results and the longer lasting the effects.

  • Developing children's social and emotional competencies improves their learning outcomes

 There is a growing awareness around the importance of social and emotional development for successful performance in school; social and emotional skills play a role in determining how well-equipped children will be to meet the demands of the classroom. Social and emotional skills provide a foundation for better adjustment and academic performance reflected in more positive social behaviours and peer relationships, fewer conduct problems, less emotional distress, and improved test scores. Schools also have a key role to play in helping children and families to manage the transition from primary to secondary school. This is particularly relevant for children who may lack the resilience and emotional support that are required during these changes.

  • Getting a good start: quality early years experiences means that children are more likely to succeed at school

The value of high quality early years experiences is well established (see Ready Steady Grow and Learning Years sections of this website); the positive impact of this stage on children's academic and social development can be sustained into later schooling. Appropriate support and guidance for parents in the 0-3 phase and evidence-based early childhood programmes (such as HighScope) with explicit emergent literacy instruction and clear teaching objectives support children's early learning and improve their school readiness.

  • Write-Minded School Strand
    read more

  • Write-Minded Family and Community Strand
      - read more
  • Write-Minded Publications and Podcasts
     - click here

  • Write-Minded  hosts an inter-agency forum on oral language
     - access documents and files here