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Language and Literacy

Activity type: Continual Committee
Activity coordinator: Dr. Reut Yamin, Itay Pollak
Activity period: 2006-2014

The expert committee focusing on the field of language and literacy is chaired by Prof. (Emeritus) Elite Olshtain of the Hebrew University. Established in the spring of 2006, the committee was chaired from its inception until 2008 by Prof. (Emeritus) Ruth Berman of Tel Aviv University. Members serve on the committee on a voluntary basis.
The expert committee was created in response to a request by the Ministry of Education (MOE) administration to serve as an anticipatory and responsive address for MOE needs in this field. The committee works in diverse ways to advance knowledge in the field, including gathering up-to-date research knowledge through scientific literature reviews, symposia, workshops and various study sessions while maintaining ongoing relationships with the MOE inspectors responsible for (mother tongue) Hebrew and Arabic language instruction. These activities were summarized in various reports published by committee.
During the initial years of its work, the committee concentrated on the major form of language expression in school – written language in general – and in particular, on the specific case of Arabic and the existing disparity between spoken and written language. The committee initiated a project to promote research and development of mother-tongue Arabic language instruction, chaired by committee member, Prof. Elinor Saiegh-Haddad.
In late 2009, Yad-Hanadiv turned to the committee for academic support of its activities to improve language literacy in middle school. To meet Yad-Handiv's needs, experts from several different disciplines joined the committee for its second term. The committee focused its discussions on the improvement of teaching and learning literacy in middle school and on the challenges unique to developing literacy skills in this age group. The discussions were held within a broad theoretical framework which included later language development, required literacy skills in middle school, student achievements, challenges and opportunities for teaching and learning in middle school, school intervention and reform.
The committee took part in the Yad-Hanadiv's endeavor until the end of 2012. In 2013 it will draw its conclusions based on the years spent facilitating the interface between researchers and research, decision-makers, foundations and practitioners. Its findings will be submitted to the public during the summer of 2013 and will also serve as a blueprint for future activities