Latest News

A selection of language-related news. Does not claim to be comprehensive or represent the views of SCILT.


Book Week Scotland 2019

23 October 2019 (Scottish Book Trust)

Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. The programme for this year's Book Week Scotland has just been launched. The programme includes workshops, poetry and storytelling sessions in Gaelic and Scots for both adults and children.

Visit the website to find out about events and activities taking place near you.


Oh là là! The appeal of international picturebooks

1 December 2017 (TES)

Picturebooks enable language learning using a familiar, non-intimidating format that is accessible across all reading levels.

Subscription required to access article


Matthew Fitt presents a fantastic Scots writing website and competition

30 October 2017 (Scottish Book Trust)

SKOOSH! is an exciting new online collection of poems, stories, monologues and plays by young writers - and they're all written in our very own, brilliant Scots language.

SKOOSH! is part of the Scots Hoose website. Funded by Creative Scotland and led by myself, Matthew Fitt, Scots Hoose has got all you need to learn about starting to write in Scots. There are tips, ideas, songs, information, films and muckle mair - and now lots of great new writing by school pupils ready for you to read on SKOOSH!

SKOOSH! is always looking for new Scots writing. It doesn't matter where you live. It doesn't matter which dialect of Scots you know. You can write in Scots just as well as anyone.

And if you're not sure how to get started or what to write about or even what the Scots language really is, visit Scots Hoose, Scotland's best resource for learning and creativity in the Scots language.


Scots language 'helps pupils in English exams'

2 September 2017 (The Herald)

The teaching of the Scots language is having a positive impact on the attainment of pupils in English qualifications, according to a new report.

Research shows teachers believe the language can particularly help disengaged pupils and those who are not high academic achievers.

The findings comes in a report from curriculum body Education Scotland which explores the use of Scots in primary and secondary schools.


Related Links

Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence (30 August 2017, Education Scotland)

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2017: Open Word - Open World

28 August 2017 (Michael Kerins)

This exciting new project will run from 20 to 31 October 2017. The idea is to create new writing using vocabulary that differs by the addition of only one letter - one single letter and the meaning changes. Not only in English - but in a wide variety of languages.  

To find out more about the project and how you can participate, visit the website or contact


Mother Language Dictates Reading Strategy

4 June 2017 (Language Magazine)

The way bilingual people read is conditioned by the languages they speak, according to researchers at Spain’s Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language (BCBL), who found that the languages spoken by bilingual people (when they learned to read in two languages at the same time) affect their reading strategies and even the cognitive foundations that form the basis for the capacity to read.

“Monolingual speakers of transparent [phonetic] languages—where letters are pronounced the same independently of the word they are included in, such as Basque or Spanish—have a greater tendency to use analytical reading strategies, where they read words in parts,” according to Marie Lallier, one of the authors of the article, “Cross-Linguistic Transfer in Bilinguals Reading in Two Alphabetic Orthographies: The grain size accommodation hypothesis,” published in the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

On the other hand, speakers of opaque languages, where the sounds of letters differ depending on the word (for example English or French) are more likely to use a global reading strategy. In other words, they tend to read whole words to understand their meaning.

Researchers also observed that bilingual people who learned to read two languages at the same time do not read the same way as monolingual speakers; rather, they follow a different pattern which had not previously been described—a contamination effect takes place between the two reading strategies in speakers of two languages. Therefore, a person learning to read in Spanish and in English will have a greater tendency toward a global strategy, even when reading in Spanish, than a monolingual Spanish speaker.


Erasmus+ 'Creative Thinking in Literacy & Language Skills' project.

10 December 2015 (LEAP)

LEAP are coordinators of the Erasmus+ 'Creative Thinking in Literacy & Language Skills' project.

The project aims to bring the often illusive skills of creative thinking to teachers of literacy and/or languages, through a comprehensive 'how to' manual that is packed with instructional exercises.

This manual is now freely available to downlaod, along with two ready-to-use classroom activities, one from the project 'training package' and one based on a teacher submission to the project.

More of these type of activities will follow in the new year.

Please follow the links within the attached document or head straight to the project web site for more information.


New Languages and Literacy leaflet available from SCILT!

2 October 2015 (SCILT)

Hot off the press! SCILT has just developed a new leaflet for parents that promotes the positive connections between language learning and literacy skills. The leaflet Developing Literacy Through Language Learning: a guide for parents gives an interesting insight into language learning in Scottish schools and demonstrates how learning additional languages can play an important role in helping children and young people develop their literacy skills in their mother tongue.

To order copies of Developing Literacy Through Language Learning: a guide for parents for your school visit the Learners and Parents pages of our website where you will find a range of SCILT resources. Download and complete the order form and email it back to us at

Although these products are free of charge, we would ask in return that you briefly explain how you intend to use them in your establishment.


Literacy through Latin

16 September 2015 (University of Edinburgh)

The program Literacy through Latin connects volunteers who know Latin with classrooms in Edinburgh Council primary schools. We use Latin to introduce new lessons on language and culture for P5 and P6 students because we believe that the history and culture of Classics remain valuable in the modern world.

Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence aims to shape successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors. For all of these learning Latin (‘the maths of the humanities’) is incredibly efficient. Short, fun language lessons help students to unlock another side of their creativity. Cultural explorations unfold the significance and memory of the Roman world today.

Autumn 2015 will see the beginning of this program from the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

Visit their website for more information.


International Literacy Day - 8 September

20 August 2015 (British Council)

For International Literacy Day on 8 September, British Council has a range of activites you could try with your class.

  • Bookworms - activity to study a piece of writing
  • Words, Words, Words - explore words in English that have their origins in other languages
  • 10 Words - see if your class can capture the essence of a language and culture in a short play using no more than 10 words in that language

Jonathan Goddard: Meet the man using rap to make Latin a hip new subject

30 May 2015 (The Independent)

Rapper Jonathan Goddard is using his skills to motivate his students in a classroom in a deprived area of London. The children, some as young as eight, are rapping, singing and gesturing in unison, but the language they’re using isn’t English. It’s Latin.

The groundbreaking approach, using a language more closely linked to Virgil and Ovid than Jay Z and Kanye West, is designed to teach children how to conjugate verbs and grasp complex grammatical rules using the classical language as a conduit.


Latin to be taught to deprived kids to improve literacy skills

26 May 2015 (The Scotsman)

A landmark educational programme to improve literacy levels in deprived parts of Glasgow through the teaching of Latin has been given the go-ahead.

The ‘Literacy through Latin’ project will from October involve each student teaching one hour-long class per week throughout the school year.

Latin is the root of many modern European languages, such as French and Italian and English. Studies have shown that introduction to Latin can improve children’s ability to learn foreign languages, as well as improve literacy levels in English.

Literacy through Latin uses storytelling, games and activities to introduce the nuts and bolts of Latin grammar, demonstrating the deep connections between Latin and English.


Related Links

Scottish pupils to be taught Latin to boost literacy (The Herald, 26 May 2015)

Learning Latin has big benefits for children (The Guardian, letters, 3 June 2015)

Which children's books define the Scottish identity?

23 August 2014 (Guardian)

What do you read when you feel both Scottish and British? In the lead up to the independence referendum in September, site member Firebird journeys back through children's books to see what it means to be Scottish.

[...] The same could be said of the various Scottish languages and dialects – all different, but all Scottish. Given the Scottish government's emphasis on Gaelic, one might be excused for thinking that Gaelic was the sole language of Scotland, but in fact Gaelic (which originates from Irish) was only ever spoken in the Highlands and Islands, plus a little in the West of Scotland. In 1755, just 23% of Scots spoke solely Gaelic, and nowadays only 1.1% of Scots speak any Gaelic at all. As for the East of Scotland, they have always spoken Scots, which brings up another question – what on earth do we mean by Scots?


‘I have no doubt that the learning of a second language supports literacy’

5 June 2014 (TES)

The stated purpose of study for the new national curriculum for languages in England for KS2 and KS3 is inspirational and encapsulates what teachers would want for language learners of any age.

"Learning a foreign language is liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world."

Learning a foreign language gives children a second chance to master key grammar terminology and important language learning strategies. I have no doubt that the learning of a second language supports literacy.


University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages