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Emergent Literacy Practices in Early Years Settings in 2015: Third annual survey of practitioners

This report resents a snapshot of the attitudes and beliefs of 450 early years practitioners around emergent literacy in 2015, as well as the reported attitudes and emergent literacy behaviours of the children in their settings.

Stories are an important part of life in early years settings; throughout this report we have seen that practitioners show high levels of confidence and enjoyment around sharing emerging literacy experiences with the children in their care. Nearly 8 in 10 practitioners (78.9%) share stories with the children in their setting on a daily basis, with the majority of practitioners (71.1%) agreeing strongly that developing children’s early literacy skills is ‘embedded’ in their practice.

However, attitudes and behaviours around emergent literacy do seem to be moderated by a number of important factors:

  • Number of years in practice has an impact on attitudes to emergent literacy and practitioner confidence. We found that practitioners who had more experience in early years settings were more likely to report spending longer periods sharing stories with the children in their care and were also more likely to feel that their efforts around emergent literacy have an impact on the children’s development.
  • Practitioners with a higher level of qualification feel more skilled and more confident when it comes to supporting children’s emergent literacy skills.
  • Practitioners in early years settings rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted report better resources and more positive attitudes around emergent literacy. 
  • Practitioner attitudes and beliefs vary depending on which children they are working with. One interesting theme that emerged in this report is the extent to which the attitudes and beliefs of practitioners was not only dependent on factors relevant to them or their setting, but also factors relevant to the children in their care. 
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The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
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