National Literacy Strategy launched for Malta and Gozo

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National Literacy Strategy launched for Malta and GozoDuring various literacy-related events held this morning, the Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo launched the National Literacy Strategy for All policy document, with the aim of improving literacy levels across different sectors of society.

Speaking to the media at the launch, Minister Evarist Bartolo stressed the importance of acquiring the competencies required for people to lead fulfilling lives. He said that the strategy promotes bilingualism and calls for more reading time in the daily school timetable.

The launch involved a Literacy Celebration through drama by the characters who form part of the Family Literacy Campaign: Nannu Guzi, Nanna Anna, Parents Roberta and Kevin, Uncle Luke, the children Jan and Alexia and, of course, Ciko the dog.

A number of reading sessions also took place by the Reading Ambassadors. Local personalities, appointed by the Ministry over the past months to promote a culture of reading in schools and beyond, also held sessions with children and adults alike. Reading books were also distributed to those who participated in the various activities.

The Policy Document – The National Literacy Strategy for All in Malta and Gozo (2014-2019)

It is the intention of the Ministry to do its utmost to ensure that society is provided with the best opportunities to acquire the required literacy skills.

This goal will be achieved through a National Literacy Strategy for All and a complementary National Literacy Campaign which will target different sectors of society.

The Strategy will be implemented also in the light of recent results obtained by Malta in international assessments like the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) where the percentage of 15 year-olds who were low achievers in reading literacy 36% was significantly higher than the EU average 19%.

The consultative process for the drawing up of the National Literacy Strategy has taken one year and has involved numerous educators, eight expert consultative groups and the general public.

The National Literacy Strategy for All has both lifelong and life-wide dimensions. It will cover the First Years, the Early Years, the Junior Years, the Secondary Years, Youths, Adults, Children with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, Third Country Nationals and Digital Literacy.

There will be a special focus on the first and early years and the role of parents and caregivers.

The main tenets of the National Literacy Strategy:

· Literacy is an important element in the field of social inclusion. A literate community strengthens participatory democracy.

· The Strategy promotes a policy of Bilingualism and Biliteracy in Maltese and English and seeks to consolidate and integrate better existing initiatives and programmes in the field of literacy to ensure increased effectiveness and impact.

· Balanced Literacy Teaching where the technical aspects of reading and writing are taught in the context of making meaning through text and the integration of the skills of oracy, reading and writing.

· Language learning methods to be adopted are to include Language Exposure, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and Language Tandems.

· Increased opportunities for Reading Time in Maltese and English throughout the curriculum, within the frame of reference of the National Curriculum Framework.

· Promotion of Reading Opportunities in different forms, also through bespoke programmes like Aqra Mieghi/Read with Me with 0-3 year olds and their parents, Reading Ambassadors involving personalities who promote reading among children and youths and Reading Champions and Reading Buddies for children and young people who inspire others to read.

· Professional development opportunities for educators at all levels in literacy learning and teaching.

· The increased use of new technologies in the teaching and learning of literacy.

· Research studies that will provide a better understanding of literacy practices in Malta and Gozo.

· Literacy awareness through national initiatives, the media and family-oriented measures.

A copy of the policy document is available for download in English here and in Maltese here.

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