Everyone in Scotland – from the youngest nursery class child through to senior citizens – should have the opportunity to develop and improve their literacy skills.

That is the message from Education Secretary Michael Russell as he addressed people working across Scotland to support literacy development at  the LTS National Literacy Conference.

Mr Russell said:

For Scotland to be successful, progressive and inclusive we need to drive up literacy standards for all our people. That’s why earlier this year I committed to taking forward a new Literacy Action Plan, which will bring together the strands of literacy promotion work being progressed by both Government and others.

Of course, school education has a central role to play in this, which is why Curriculum for Excellence has both literacy and numeracy skills at its heart and makes developing these skills the explicit responsibility of each and every teacher.

However, our Action Plan will make connections well beyond the schools years, starting with pre-school education through to lifelong adult learning. “Our plan will chime well with the report from the Literacy Commission at the end of last year, as it will focus on a sustained commitment from all too improving literacy, with better cooperation and coordination between organisations. The Action Plan will continue to be developed throughout the summer and will be launched this autumn.

Literacy isn’t simply a set bench mark to achieve, this is about taking learning well beyond basic levels so people are able to thrive in modern life – for example, ensuring parents have sufficient literacy skills so they in turn can help their children as they develop.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) hostedthe National Literacy Conference and Anne Jardine, LTS Director of Learning and Community, added:

As a responsibility of all, literacy plays a vital role within Curriculum for Excellence and offers opportunities for all children and young people to enhance their communication skills, explore a rich variety of texts and extend their vocabulary.

To support literacy across learning, LTS has produced a fantastic range of guidance and resources to assist all teachers and education practitioners in making literacy connections across the curriculum areas.

Curriculum for Excellence principles are embedded in today’s conference, which will contribute to and enhance the current guidance by taking an inclusive approach, looking at literacy within a wealth of contexts including community learning and development, early years, dyslexia, visual difficulties and complex additional support needs.

(Improving literacy press release)