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Early childhood education and care

Full day
Event type: 

Foundations of Literacy: A Seminar with Sue Palmer

Literacy doesn't come naturally to human beings. In order to become committed readers and writers, children must first develop a wide range of abilities that underpin literacy acquisition - abilities that depend upon the right sort of support and experiences in their early years. 

This seminar is informed by many years’ research (around Europe as well as the UK) into the best ways to develop ‘literacy readiness’ between the ages of three and seven. 

It draws on expertise from speech and language therapists, developmental psychologists, literacy and early years specialists, musicians, storytellers and experts in children’s physical development and play. It is particularly concerned with narrowing the gap between children who find literacy skills relatively easy to acquire and those who don’t. 

Key learning: 

  • Developing listening skills in a highly visual child 
  • Supporting all children in successful language development 
  • Why music, movement, stories and songs are essential foundations of literacy, and ways to integrate them into daily practice 
  • The significance of children’s concepts about print and how to support their development 
  • The importance of phonological and phonemic awareness and how to build phonic knowledge 
  • ‘Moving into writing’ – the relationship between mark-making, emergent writing and explicit teaching. 

Who should attend

This seminar is relevant to anyone working with children aged between 3 and 7, with an interest in literacy and language development. This includes practitioners from early years settings, as well as primary teachers and school support staff. The event is also highly relevant to speech and language therapists and developmental psychologists.

Facilitator bio

Sue Palmer is a former Borders headteacher, literacy specialist and author of books on child development, notably Toxic Childhood and 21st Century Boys. Research for her latest book Upstart: the case for raising the school starting age and providing what the under-sevens really need (Floris, 2016) inspired the Upstart Scotland campaign.

During a long career as a freelance literacy specialist she wrote over 250 books, software programs and TV scripts on various aspects of literacy, and many hundreds of articles for the educational and national press.  She has also provided courses for teachers throughout the UK and around the world, and acted as a consultant to the National Literacy Trust, the Basic Skills Agency, the English Department for Education and the BBC.

In recent years, Sue has been Chair of the Scottish Play Commission and served on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Task Force. She's is now thrilled to be listed in Who’s Who and Debrett’s People of Today as a 'childhood campaigner'. Her repeated inclusion in a list of the 40 most influential educationists in London is a particular pleasure, given that she lives in Edinburgh.