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International Literacy Day (8th September 2020) and Libraries Week (5th-10th October)

September 8th marks UNESCO’s International Literacy Day; raising awareness globally on the issues surrounding adult and child literacy. First held in 1966 and now part of the UN’s sustainable development goals programme adopted in 2015, International Literacy day highlights the changes and improvements being made worldwide in literacy development.

International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond,” especially on the role of educators and changing pedagogies. The theme highlights literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective, and therefore, mainly focuses on youth and adults. The recent Covid-19 crisis has been a stark reminder of the existing gap between policy discourse and reality: a gap that already existed in the pre-COVID-19 era and negatively affects the learning of youth and adults, who have no or low literacy skills, and therefore, tend to face multiple disadvantages. During COVID-19, in many countries, adult literacy programmes were absent in the initial education response plans, so most adult literacy programmes that did exist were suspended, with just a few courses continuing virtually, through TV and radio, or in open air spaces.

What is the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on youth and adult literacy educators and teaching and learning? What are the lessons learnt? How can we effectively position youth and adult literacy learning in global and national responses and in strategies for the recovery and resilience-building phase? By exploring these questions, International Literacy Day 2020 provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective pedagogies and teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. The Day will also give an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as formulate effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning.

The new five-year UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy (2020-2025) has four strategic priority areas:

  • Developing national literacy policies and strategies;
  • Addressing the learning needs of disadvantaged groups, particularly women and girls;
  • Leveraging digital technologies to expand access and improve learning outcomes;
  • Monitoring progress and assessing literacy skills and programmes.

Libraries Week - 5th and 10th October

Libraries Week is an annual showcase and celebration of the best that libraries have to offer. Each year they pick a theme and explore the innovative and surprising things that libraries are doing to support their communities.

In 2020, Libraries Week will take place between the 5th and 10th October. They will be celebrating the nation’s much-loved libraries and their vital role in the UK’s book culture and hopefully libraries in all sectors to celebrate books and reading, showcase their reading offer and the contribution they make towards building a Nation of Readers. Keep up to date with Libraries Week 2020 by following @librariesweek and share your plans at #LibrariesWeek.

The Libraries Week hub for librarians page contains links to downloadable resources and guidance to help you plan and promote your Libraries Week celebrations! Their theme for Libraries Week 2020 is ‘Books and Reading’ and they aim to showcase the vital role of libraries in the UK’s book culture.

We hope that many schools will be highlighting both these events to their pupils and school community; read on further to find out how LGfL can support you if you intend on taking part with one or both events.

Using LGfL Resources

LGfL have a range of resources to support not just International Literacy day but with Literacy throughout the curriculum.

ReadingZone Live brings regular interviews and live video conferences with some of the best contemporary children’s authors to London schools. Anthony Horowitz, Henry Winkler, Sophie McKenzie, Michael Morpurgo, Julian Clary, Sally Nichols and Lauren Child are among the authors who have already joined us for the ReadingZone Live programme, which is helping inspire young people to explore new authors and genres and to develop their own creative writing. Over the summer holidays we at LGfL have been working on redeveloping our Reading Zone Live resource. Teachers at the LEO Trust Academy have supported our work and we hope to go live with this shortly (we have developed some comprehensions and lessons for KS1 and KS2 pupils around some of the authors' books). In the meantime, the current ReadingZone Live resource continues to offer over 50 author interviews covering a vast range of genres and writing styles.

Children could be encouraged to explore some of the authors' published works by visiting their school and local library.


The IncludEd in 5 series is a series of short videos all about inclusion and accessibility; some videos aim to cover tools and technology which can be used to support inclusion and others will explain key ideas or concepts within SEND, quickly and simply. The two videos on Immersive Reader (Part 1 and 2) fit in well with UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy - especially leveraging digital technologies to expand access and improve learning outcomes. If you have never explored Immersive Reader watch the first video below (if you have a request for an IncludED in 5 please click here):

Busy Things have a vast range of resources that support Literacy across the Primary phase.

In teacher mode - teachers are able to use either the curriculum search and find activities linked to the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 as well as the EYFS framework or can enter a search term (e.g. phonics) and find a range of activities that meet this search.

The Phonics Resource Maker enables teachers to create their own phonics resources for their students, the resource includes grapheme cards, letter formation, missing letters and matching all linked to Letters and Sounds Phases 1-5 as well as teachers being able to choose their own content if they follow a different scheme. The video below gives an overview on how to make the most of this fantastic resource:

Busy Paint and Publisher has 100 of templates to use across the curriculum with easy to use features, as shown in the video below:

j2e Toolsuite offers a range of resources including:

J2write enables schools to meet the literacy requirements of the national curriculum programmes of study for KS1, KS2 and KS3. From writing to animation, recording speech, mixing it up and blogging. J2write adds a framework around the most popular writing tools within j2e providing lesson plans and examples. Whether you are using JIT with Early Years and KS1, j2bloggy with Year 6 or above, or something in-between, there is a set of lesson plans to help you get started. There are sections on learning objectives and outcomes, cross curricular links, extension activities, and assessment. The detailed lesson plans help you though classroom use of the tools, step by step. They can easily be adapted to work with whatever topic your class is currently working on.

Spell blast is a fantastic interactive way of learning spellings, pupils can either go live, choose from a level and teachers can also set their own spelling lists for classes/year groups. Using their USO log in means that children can access the resource at home and at school and teachers will be able to look at strengths and weaknesses for individuals and the class and try to address those gaps.

Why not get creative with Adobe Spark? @FunkyPedagogy shares her Word of the Week resources using Adobe Spark on Twitter and encourages teachers to look/use/adapt/ignore as you like! You can find them via her tweet here. You can see an example below, but this is just one of the many great ways that you can make use of Adobe within the classroom, don't forget to claim your Adobe licences as part of your LGfL subscription here.

Listening Books offers over 100 curriculum based audio books, titles can be streamed direct for group listening in class or for individuals to listen with headphones. These are excellent to listen to in class or to support SEND learners with literacy or for those who need some calming down time for their wellbeing. Listening Books is a charity and these books must only be used with students who have an illness, physical or learning disability of mental health condition which impacts on their ability to read or hold a book.

To listen to a book follow the steps below:

  1. Log onto the Listening Books website with your LGfL USO account.
  2. Search the catalogue for a book to which you would like to listen.
  3. Press the ‘play’ symbol and the book will begin!

Alongside Listening Books, you can also access 15 free e books from Rising Stars for ages 7-14. Each book also comes with teacher's notes and activities meaning that they are ideal  for use with 1:1 as well as during guided reading sessions.

The Whole Story resource aims to explore how storytelling can maximise the creativity within learning activities for children. By capturing the expert advice of a professional storyteller, and arranging this advice into a simple interface, it is hoped that teachers of all age groups can get inspiration on how to incorporate storytelling across the curriculum. Structured thoughts and examples on how to take hidden and or less obvious stimulus within an image or object offer new opportunities for teachers to explore with their learners.

Fairytales - Each of the six fairy tales is broken down into one bite-sized sentence per scene, using the first 100 high-frequency words. This allows learners to easily follow, understand and remember the stories, and helps ensure access to the curriculum for all. Pupils can watch at their own pace, and opt to turn on or off the accompanying text and symbols. Animated characters bring each scene to life, with differentiated activities to help include all learners. Within each story, pupils can choose their own motivator, which rewards them as they successfully complete activities, and there are four ability levels for even further differentiation.

In the same format as Fairy Tales, Early Shakespeare takes two favourite Shakespeare plays - Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream,  SEN assist have transformed them into literacy exercises that are likely to prove popular with pupils across the ability spectrum. The two plays are broken down into one bite-sized sentence per scene, using the first 100 high-frequency words. This allows learners to easily follow, understand and remember the stories, and helps ensure access to the curriculum for all.

For creating, Super Action Comic Maker is great for Art and for Literacy, allowing pupils to bring their own superhero to life and not only add and customise backgrounds and superheroes, but also speech and effect bubbles to create a narrative.

Picture Book Maker is an online tool that allows children to create their own picture books based on the children's illustrator Sarah Dyer, all set in London Zoo another great resource to use not only on International Literacy Day but throughout the year.

Don't forget we also have a 5 Ways to support Literacy , the aim of 5 ways is to showcase five ways to use LGfL resources across the curriculum that you can take and use and share for example, they can be shared in the staff room, at INSET sessions and also given to parents so that they can support their children’s learning at home.

Other Resources:

Literacy Apps from the National Literacy Trust, is a guide that aims to help parents and teachers get the most out of apps that support language and literacy development; you can search via age, learning and features. (Note: some of the apps recommended in this guide need to be paid for and some offer further in app purchases.)

Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. They curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories, it is also free for any educational setting. You can search art work, as well completing challenges and reading guides to inspire writing of different genres. The blog also features a weekly prompt which could be used as an early work exercise or for homework.

Whatever you are doing for International Day of Literacy and Libraries Week, do let us know by sharing your ideas and work via our Facebook and Twitter.



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