Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 09:44 UK

Spelling out literacy improvement

Pupils with whiteboards
Pupils use the boards and letters to make words and sentences

Every primary one pupil in North Lanarkshire is to be given a whiteboard and magnetic letters as part of a drive to boost literacy skills.

The move is part of the council's Active Literacy programme which aims to improve reading, writing and spelling among all primary pupils.

It follows the success of a pilot project launched in 2005.

Research showed that the reading age of children taking part in that scheme was five months ahead of other youngsters.

The whiteboards are said to enhance the learning of word building, phonics, sentence making and spelling as children can move the letters about putting words and sounds together.

Director of learning and leisure services at the council, Christine Pollock, said: "Active Literacy is all about enjoyable learning.

"Children no longer sit passively working their way through reading schemes and worksheets.

"They work collaboratively in groups with other children, talking about what they are doing and, importantly, actively participating in the learning experience."

Children no longer sit passively working their way through reading schemes and worksheets
Christine Pollock
North Lanarkshire Council

Older children will also benefit from the literacy programme.

Pupils in primaries four to seven are being given new novels which they will be encouraged to take home and read with their parents.

A number of local authorities have run schemes in recent years aimed at improving poor levels of reading and writing in primary schools.

A project in Clackmannanshire which used synthetic phonics to improve reading levels was hailed a great success.

Researchers found 10-year-old pupils in schools there were ahead of English youngsters being taught by a different method.

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