Primary Literacy

Nutbrown’s research (2006) informs us that parent-child conversations, how children experiment with words and rhythms, listening to and telling stories and pretend play provide important building blocks of family literacy. Literacy is a skill for life. It is the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that allows us to communicate effectively and make sense of the world. Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life.

Online communities

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Editor's comments

This guide provides a model for the elimination of illiteracy where there is national will. 

Areas for further research

This approach has been tested and found successful. Any similar programmes will need to evaluate their success. 


The ideas here were adapted from the successful Cuban drive to eliminate illiteracy and will need adaption for each context.

Strength of evidence

The evidence that this approach works is strong.

Play to Promote Literacy (reading and writing)


Element Experiences/ Strategies/ Knowledge
Background/ Theory
  • Globally, the youth literacy rate increased from 83 per cent to 91 per cent over two decades, while the number of illiterate youth declined from 170 million to 115 million (In the 101/159 countries with data) (UNESCO, 2017a).

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