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The minister for children and families, Edward Timpson MP, visited Stonegrove Children's Centre in Edgware, Barnet to celebrate the progress made by children and their families through the Early Language Development Programme (ELDP).

A training project to help early years practitioners assess the development of children with English as an additional language has proved highly effective. Julie Cigman explains

As a parent, literacy is probably the area that you are most determined for your child to succeed in. It is important, both in school and in life, and being able to read and write confidently and fluently are vital skills that we all need.

Just under six out of ten six-year-olds met the standard required by the new phonics reading check, the results of the first year of the test show.

Controversy over when reading and writing should be taught could persist under the revised framework.Jan Dubiel, national development manager for Early Excellence, reviews the essential principles.

More than eight in ten Year 1 teachers in primary schools believe that the phonics check for six-year-olds should be scrapped, according to a survey by teaching unions.

To create a communication rich environment for their charges, Norland Nursery staff studied their own communication patterns. By Clare Crowther

Ability to communicate and use language is recognised as the foundation for children's development across other learning areas. By Nancy Stewart

Viv Hampshire recreates the setting of picture book Dear Zoo in a local park so a group of children can learn about animals and their habitats.

Male reading volunteers in schools and parenting programmes that focus on fathers are among the recommendations of a major report into how to tackle the gap between boys and girls in reading.