Basic Skills Material

Welsh Books Council

Basic Skills Material - 11 April 2007

Y Lolfa, Gwasg Gomer, B-DAG, @ebol, Accent Press and Continuum (Network Educational Press) were amongst the winners of the Basic Skills Book Awards announced on 30 March at an awards ceremony in Cardiff, which was hosted by Wyre Davies of BBC Wales.

This year's Award for Overall Excellence went to Y Lolfa for  Darllen Mewn Dim  by Angharad Tomos and  Pecyn Athrawon  by Anwen Owen. All the panel members agreed that this series was an excellent resource for promoting basic skills amongst primary pupils. The judges found the use of colour most appealing and they liked the effective use of repetition to help children to grasp sentence structures.

Other winners included @ebol for its primary and secondary level numeracy materials and Gwasg Gomer for its Welsh-language fiction for secondary schools.

Both the Quick Reads and Stori Sydyn series won awards Quick Reads received the Literacy: English-language Basic Skills Books Award, whilst the Welsh Stori Sydyn series was awarded a special Honorary Award. The judges felt that both series had succeeded in their aim to appeal to emergent readers through their design and the wealth of different titles available.

The Basic Skills Book Awards are organised to help raise the standard of basic skills materials available to children, young people and adults. Although there have been improvements in performance in recent years, over a quarter of children, young people and adults in Wales have reading, writing and numeracy skills which are well below the level of which they should be capable. Amongst adults in Wales, about 440,000 (25% of the total aged 16-65) do not have Level 1 literacy skills (20% for Welsh literacy skills); and 990,000 (53%) do not have Level 1 numeracy skills.

The Book Awards were launched in 2003 and form a part of the Welsh Assembly Government's National Basic Skills Strategy to raise the standards of basic skills of children, young people and adults. This unique Awards scheme jointly run by Basic Skills Agency and the Welsh Books Council – aims to help teachers, librarians and parents to select the best material for improving literacy and numeracy. The Awards also aim to develop publishers' awareness of the basic skills strategy and encourage the development of materials that are high quality, age appropriate and relevant to Wales.

The Basic Skills Agency and the Welsh Books Council invited publishers to submit materials which were then short-listed by expert screening panels. The prize-winning entries were chosen by a special Jury chaired by John Valentine Williams. Both the panels and the Jury comprised leading experts in publishing and in basic-skills teaching in Wales.

Commenting on the winners, Toni Schiavone, Executive Director Wales, of the Basic Skills Agency, said: "Those who work with learners who are struggling with poor basic skills know how important it is that publications are attractive and well produced, and make allowances for the fact that learners' chronological age is different from their reading age or numeracy level. This is particularly true for adults with poor basic skills, for whom there is still a dearth of good material."

Toni continued: "Learners of all ages need to be stimulated to want to learn and we are keen to encourage the production and wider availability of interesting and relevant material to help to motivate and encourage them. Whilst we were disappointed not to be able to find suitable winners for all the award categories, we were particularly pleased to see a growing number of good quality materials in Welsh. These are suitable not just for basic skills learners but also for Welsh-language students as they gain confidence with their reading."

Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Director of the Welsh Books Council, said: "The Basic Skills Agency and the Welsh Books Council are delighted to endorse these publications and to encourage their widespread use. The Awards will not only highlight the best material currently available in both Welsh and English but we hope they will also encourage publishers to produce a wider range of quality basic skills material for all age groups."

Jane Davidson, Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills said: "As an avid reader I am delighted that the Book Awards, which form part of the Welsh Assembly Government's Basic Skills Strategy, have helped in our aim to promote the importance of basic skills. Through the awards publishers are developing an awareness of the need to offer a wider range of high quality resources to children, young people and adults. I congratulate all the winners and I am particularly pleased to see that Welsh-language fiction is being recognised."

The winners of the 2007 Basic Skills Book Awards were:

Overall Excellence Award: Y Lolfa:  Darllen Mewn Dim  by Angharad Tomos and  Pecyn Athrawon  by Anwen Owen

Primary Age-group Awards

Literacy: English-language basic skills books or schemes:  Continuum  (Network Educational Press):  Flying Start with Literacy  by Ros Bayley and Lynn Broadbent

Literacy: Welsh-language basic skills books or schemes: Y Lolfa:  Darllen Mewn Dim  by Angharad Tomos and  Pecyn Athrawon  by Anwen Owen

Numeracy books or schemes in English or Welsh: @ebol:  Datrys Problemau 1  and  Datrys Problemau 2

Non-book materials: B-DAG Cyf:  Sali Mali 1-2-3

Secondary Age-group Awards

Literacy: English-language basic skills books or schemes:  No winner  

Literacy: Welsh-language basic skills books or schemes: Gwasg Gomer:  Cyfres I'r Byw  by Elin Meek and Meleri Wyn James

Numeracy books or schemes – in English or in Welsh: @ebol:  Cyfres Ymlaen â Ni  by Hilary Koll and Steve Mills, adapted by Siv¢n Owen

Non-book materials:  No winner  

Adult Awards

Literacy: English-language basic skills books or schemes:  Quick Reads  

Literacy: Welsh-language basic skills books or schemes:  No winner  

Numeracy books or schemes,  in English or Welsh:  No winner  

Non-book materials:  No winner  

Honorary Award:  Gwasg Gomer, Y Lolfa and Accent Press: Stori Sydyn series

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