Literacy and inclusion in times of change


Many students have complex learning needs, including learning disabilities or special educational needs. This paper presents findings from international research published in a recent academic book which brought together two fields, Literacy Education and Inclusive Education. Issues faced by teachers in a changing environment, and strategies to assist students develop literacy are discussed. Change factors of a civil rights agenda, social justice and special education queries, lead to changes in education laws, such that there is an expectation that the majority of children will be taught in regular classes alongside same age peers. However, well-intentioned or aspirational policies are difficult to enact on the ground in classrooms due to a range of reasons, including lack of resources, support, teacher transience, training or quality. As literacy is arguably the most important skill students learn at school, teaching literacy inclusively is paramount. Literacy itself has changed to be multimodal, integrating reading, writing, viewing and analysing. Current literacy teaching uses digital technologies and requires a learning environment that is collaborative and participatory. For literacy teaching to be inclusive, however, it must be targeted to address the differentiated needs of each student, not only by creating interest and motivation, and using language that is inclusive, but also providing specific, structured and sequential instruction in the sub-skills that underpin literacy development for those students.


literacy, inclusion, differentiated teaching, educational changes, literacy difficulties

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