Spring into Action – OMW Launch and fundraiser in Hong Kong

Lamma Island, Hong Kong will see the launch of a new not-for-profit organization on Tuesday 7th April 2015 at Prime Bar and Grill from 2pm to 6pm. Activities for the whole family from live local music, DJ Julia Tamzyn (of Drop and Open Space fame), and raffles and prizes. Face painting by Face Slap (www.faceslaphk.com), storytelling and other children activities in the children’s corner.
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Tickets are $20 for the whole four hours per adult.
Kids for free.
Tombola raffle of over $3,000.00 in prizes.
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The One Million Words Organization’s mission is to supply curriculum based textbooks and fictional works to young learners and schools in remote provinces in PDR Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Hong Kong, PR China, and the Philippines, with a special focus on underprivileged children aged 4 to 14. One Million Words Organization has been established with the mission to finance, source, and supply new printed books, in local languages or in a second language as per demand at the time, with a word count in excess of 1,000,000 words. Each country will have only one project running at any given time. To achieve our mission we aim to raise $30,000 for each of our country projects through fundraising events, crowd sourcing, and support from our sponsors and partners. These funds will be solely used for the acquisition of quality new academic reading resources for ‘economically challenged’ schools and remote provinces in our five key target areas of Asia.

Spring into Action 2015 Event poster

Helping many children turn the page

VietNamNet Bridge – Disadvantaged children in remote mountainous areas are seeing new worlds open thanks to more than 160,000 books donated to a project called Bookshelves for Entertainment and Education. 

Our turn: Students raise their hands to ask for new books at a primary school in the southern province of Binh Phuoc. They have shown keen interest in reading.

Our turn: Students raise their hands to ask for new books at a primary school in the southern province of Binh Phuoc. They have shown keen interest in reading.

Children from the remote mountainous provinces across Viet Nam are now able to access a new world of knowledge.

This is thanks to the more than 160,000 books donated to a project entitled Tu sach Giai Tri va Giao duc (Bookshelves and Libraries for Entertainment and Education).

Carrying the motto ‘Our small contribution today will significantly change the lives of children tomorrow!’, the project has established more than 800 libraries, including one in Ethiopia, for disadvantaged children in the past 15 years of its existence.

‘Entertainment and Education Bookshelves’ was initiated by Dr Ho Dac Duy and his friends, who were students of the Hue High School for the Gifted from 1961 to 1964.

Duy recalls that he came up with the idea of the project during a sightseeing tour of a border area in the southern province of Long An about 20 years ago, when he and his friends saw several 10-year-old children reading a torn comic book excitedly. The book had been sent from the city by one of the children’s mothers.

“We have been reading this book over and over again. It is so interesting,” said one of those children, which occupied Duy and his friends’ minds on the way home. The project was born then, with four initial members.

“We understand that books will open a new world for the children and give wings to their dreams. And we are proud to learn that every member of the project shares the same will,” says Duy.

Since 2009, the books have been handed over to and developed by a group of young volunteers, 40 of whom reside in Ho Chi Minh City, while 10 live in other provinces. As its name suggests, ‘Entertainment and Education Bookshelves’ aims to fulfill the mission that “everyone must have opportunities to read books”, or to offer poor communities throughout Viet Nam with wholesome means of entertainment and useful sources of knowledge.

“I accidentally learned about the project after reading an article about it,” says Tran Thi Kim Thoa, the current director and one of the first members of the project.

Having grown up in the poor rural areas of the southern province of Binh Phuoc, Thoa clearly understands the difficulties that rural students encounter, especially in the thirst for books for both education and entertainment purposes.

The wish to enrich the spiritual life of poor children encouraged her to apply as a volunteer in the project. The success of the first trip to give books in the southern province of Dong Thap has significantly raised Thoa’s enthusiasm and determination for that meaningful activity.

According to Thoa, the project has received great contribution from the community.

“We received support from our friends at first, then from several bookstores and publishing houses, as well as domestic and international sponsors. They have helped us with finance, books and even advise us to increase the quality of the project.”

Additionally, ‘Entertainment and Education Bookshelves’ has drawn the participation of several young people from various career backgrounds and of different ages, who contribute their own skills to implement successfully important programmes such as “1,000 ambassadors to contribute books to Viet Nam’s rural children”.

“Moreover, I think that the sincerity and efforts of all the project members have touched the humane hearts of the society, which explains why we have received sustainable support in the past 15 years,” Thoa says.

Stacking them up: Young members of the Bookshelves for Entertainment and Education Project arrange donated books in their store. — Photos courtesy of Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa

Stacking them up: Young members of the Bookshelves for Entertainment and Education Project arrange donated books in their store. — Photos courtesy of Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa

Bookshelves or libraries were set up in local schools at first. However, difficulties arose when the students could not access the books as there were no book managers.

Then the project members came up with the idea of asking former teachers to open and manage free bookshelves in their homes, which is surprisingly effective. The number of young readers is rising constantly, and the former teachers are also happy to introduce interesting books to their students.

Each bookshelf consists of about 400 books, classified clearly into 6 book groups including soft skills, literature, history and geographics, comics, health care and horticulture knowledge.

The whole team has also collected several unforgettable memories in the past five years, especially regarding the voluntary work trip to the remote Dang commune in the southern province of Quang Nam.

“The commune is located in the mountains, 40km from town, and seems to be isolated from the outside world,” Thoa recalls.

“The students of three classes in the local school were grouped together and taught by only one teacher. They were a bit nervous and shy on seeing us enter the class to introduce the library and give them several books to warm up. ”

Then the students were very surprised to hold new books in their hands, and became absorbed in discovering the new world in front of their eyes. They even bravely asked the project members about the characters in the books.

“I suddenly realised that it was the first time they learned about the ocean, rivers and boats floating on the sea. They ventured into a whole new wide world with the books in their hands, from which their dreams might germinate and be realised,” says Thoa.

“The small library has finally been set up after days of anxious waiting,” says Nguyen Thuy Tien, a book keeper.

“We were full of so many feelings and were lost in a children’s book paradise.

“We would like to thank the project ‘Entertainment and Education Bookshelves’ for building a bridge, connecting our local children with books.

“Seeing them absorbed in reading books, I just hope that they will maintain that excitement for reading and form a reading habit as soon as they enter primary schools.

“The next step is to develop those small libraries so that they can truly become ‘libraries of dreams’ where the children can finish drawing the pictures of their own dreams,” Tien says.

 

In Vietnam, teacher puts bookcases on trees to encourage students to read

A teacher in central Vietnam has come up with a special idea to encourage his students to read by putting books in bookcases installed on trees around their school’s campus.

Students at Truong Son Elementary School sitting and reading books around a bookcase on a tree on their campus.

Students at Truong Son Elementary School sitting and reading books around a bookcase on a tree on their campus.

Nguyen Duc Lanh, principal of the Truong Son Elementary School in the mountainous town of Truong Son in Quang Binh province’s Quang Ninh District, has installed five bookcases around trees on his school’s campus since last December.

Lanh said most students at the school are from the Van Kieu minority group and many of them face very difficult circumstances.

The books are bought out of the school’s teachers’ pockets and donations, and new books are usually added at the end of each month.

The school also put benches under the trees so that students can easily take books from the bookcases, which look like bird nests, and sit on them to read.

The bookcases have been well-received by students in the school.

“Since we have had the bookcases, I read books from there whenever we have break time,” Ho Thi Linh Nga, a fifth grader, said. “My favorite kinds are books on animals and comics.”

“First and second graders aren’t good at reading so they often ask us to read for them,” she added. “They’re really into it.”

The school is planning to call on people to donate more books for students.

“I wish every tree in the school would have a bookcase like this,” principal Lanh excitedly said. “The whole campus will be full of books.”

(http://tuoitrenews.vn/education/27092/in-vietnam-teacher-puts-bookcases-on-trees-to-encourage-students-to-read)

Special thanks

radio-streaming-tcard_1412317241We would like to give special thanks to Super Radyo DZBB 594 kHz, the flagship AM radio station of Radio GMA Network Inc. (http://www.gmanetwork.com) in the Philippines, for their excellent interview with our Philippine Director Gemma Calope and promotion of our current project in Davao. Special thanks also to Super Raymund T. Micator (News anchor – GMA Super Radyo DAVAO – SASKI Radio Program) for hosting the interview!

We’d also like to give a big THANK YOU to the Davao Durian Eagle Club, as they’ve donated their time and effort to help us transport books to locations in the Philippines. Again, many thanks!

And last but not least, a HUGE thank you to the One Million Words Philippine office staff (Gemma, Nicole, and Joric) for their fantastic efforts and hard work! Excellent job guys!

10 tips to keep reading fun

Keep reading fun and engaging with your children with these literacy tips for families.
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All across the country, schools and libraries are joining in to celebrate March is Reading Month! From “read-ins” at school to reading competitions, drawings for prizes and celebrity readers, the focus is on encouraging children to love reading and to engage in reading and other literacy activities out of school. How can you celebrate March is Reading Month at home? Here are 10 tips to celebrate reading at home, every month of the year!

1. Keep the topics interesting

Does your child love non-fiction books, or books about fairies? Maybe super-heros or historical fiction is their thing? Whatever the topic is, let children’s interests guide their book selections. Visit your local library and talk with the chidlren’s librarian about books in the genre of their choice. You can also use websites such as the Scholastic Book Wizard to narrow down selections, read reviews and pick just the right book for your reader.

2. Read aloud

Don’t stop reading aloud to your children when they learn how to read. Listening to books read aloud helps children learn about cadence, fluency and expression. Make up voices for the characters that stay consistent as you read through a book – a high squeaky voice for the mouse or a deep, gruff voice for the bear. Make reading aloud part of your daily routine for all the kids and adults in your home, young and old alike. Looking for a good book to read aloud? You might want to check out the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award Winning booklist for ideas.

3. Set a good example

Research shows that one of the most important steps parents can take to support chidlren’s early literacy skill development is to have a literacy-rich home environment. Read for pleasure, talk with your children about how much you love reading, have books available, make reading a fun and special activity at home, not just for them, but also for you. Looking for a good book? Check out Good Reads for some ideas for you as well as your children.

4. Make a special spot for reading

Consider making a special reading area for your child at home. Perhaps an unused corner of your house with a small book shelf and a bean bag. A space that is well-lit, organized and inviting where kids can find the right book and curl up to enjoy it quietly. Let infants and toddlers have access to their books, keeping them on a low shelf or in a basket that is accessible.

5. Visit your local library

No matter how many books you have at home, nothing beats a trip to the library to stock up on new and interesting titles. Schedule time in to your calender to go to the library regularly. Look at your local libraries programs as well, many offer fun and interesting – and often free – activities to support children’s literacy development. And while you are there, don’t forget to check out books for you!

6. Have a read-in

March is often a month that brings cold, wet and muddy days that make outside play hard. Pick a rainy day to have a read-in. Leave on your pajamas, build a blanket fort in the living room and snuggle up with a good book. You could go a step further and have a book-themed day, with “Green Eggs and Ham” for breakfast and a viewing of a movie like “Charlotte’s Web” that is based off a book to end the day.

7. Be flexible

In order to keep reading fun and engaging, it’s important to be flexible. Maybe your child is too tired after a long day at school to read at bedtime and they would prefer to listen to an audio book as they fall asleep. Help your child find a time to fit reading in that works well for your family. Look for pockets of time such as the drive to school, waiting for ballet class or on the bus ride home where kids have some down time and might be able to read a little. Avoid having hard and fast rules about reading as this is a time that should be fun and not a punishment.

8. Reward wisely

Avoid the temptation to offer screen time as a reward for reading. Thom Barthelmess, president of the Association of Library Service to Children, reminds parents to avoid the temptation to offer screen time as a reward for reading. “Kids are smart and they’re paying attention, and the message we want to give them is that reading is its own reward. When we [offer TV as a reward for reading], we show them that reading is what you do to get something really valuable, like watch TV,” Thom says.

This doesn’t mean you can’t offer incentives for reading, of course. Every child is different. Some children might respond well to a sticker chart, others to a special trip to the zoo after so many books. Consider connecting the rewards to your child’s interests and the books they are reading; the child that loves dinosaur books might be motivated by a trip to the natural history museum to see real dinosaur bones.

9. Reading is reading

Worried that your child isn’t reading novels, but prefers sports magazines? Rest assured that reading really is reading! Let your child select their own reading material. It is OK to let your child select magazines, graphic novels or other material outside of a traditional book.

10. Books are special too

Emphasize the “special” nature of books. Give books as gifts with a note in the cover. Ask people to gift your children with books for holidays and birthdays. Everything seems more special when it’s wrapped up in a bow. Let children keep books they receive as gifts in their rooms and assure them they don’t have to share them, they can be theirs and theirs alone.

Helping your child grow to love reading is an amazing gift. Reading opens a world of imagination to your child. Make an effort to keep reading a priority in your home; a family activity that is fun, engaging and something you do together, every day.
(http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/march_is_reading_month_10_tips_to_keep_reading_fun)

March is Reading Month: Early literacy skill-building begins at birth

Help your child be ready for kindergarten by beginning daily literacy activities in infancy.

Did you know if you start daily reading at birth, and read with your child for 30 minutes a day, they will go to kindergarten with over 900 hours of literacy time? If you reduce that to 30 minutes a week, they lose over 770 hours of this critical “brain food” and go to kindergarten with just 130 hours of literacy time.

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Make a commitment to help your child be ready to succeed in school and commit to engaging in 30 minutes of daily literacy skill-building time starting at birth! Here are seven tips from Michigan State University Extension and ideas to support your young child’s literacy development.

1. Promote high-quality language interactions

Think of yourself like a sports commentator. You are providing the play by play for the infant or toddler in your life. Narrate the world around them, their interactions with toys, even diaper changes. Talk about what is going on, what you are doing, what they are seeing, etc. Research shows that when children have higher levels of language stimulation in the first year of life, they have better language skills, including larger vocabularies.

2. Make art a regular part of the day

In infancy and toddlerhood, young children are learning that their movements and motions can make the marks on the paper. Art experiences provide young children with the ability to practice gripping and holding a marker or crayon, learning to be purposeful in making marks on paper and phenomenal sensory feedback (feeling the paint squish between their fingers, smelling the crayons, etc.). Provide children with a wide variety of art experiences including, but not limited to, coloring with markers and crayons on heavy and thin paper, painting, finger painting, molding paint and clay, etc. Consider using non-traditional paints like chocolate pudding or shaving cream for a fun sensory experience!

3. Read, read, read

Build children’s print awareness and book handling skills by reading to them every day and making books available for children to explore. Consider heavy-duty board books that will survive heavy duty toddler usage! MSU Extension offers ideas to expand on your child’s experiences with books in our free, reproducible Family Book Sheets.

4. Nursery rhyme time

Research in early literacy has proven that regular exposure to rhymes help boost children’s abilities to master pre-reading skills such as rhyme predication and detection. Add rhymes and rhythms to your child’s day. Read nursery rhymes, sing songs with rhyming words, find fun books with rhymes and add chants or rhymes to routine times of your day, such as cleanup time or bath time.

5. Use baby sign language

Did you know that babies who learned to sign first have been found to have significantly higher vocabularies and higher IQ scores? In fact, babies who learn to sign are more likely to be reading on grade level by the end of third grade! Use signs to teach your baby and toddler basic communication words like eat, more, milk, tired, wet, hot, etc. You can tell your baby is starting to be old enough to sign when you see them waving bye-bye or mimicking other gestures to communicate, such as pounding on their high chair tray for more food.

6. Read it again, and again, and again!

While reading books again and again might be frustrating for parents, toddlers love to have their favorite books read aloud multiple times. The act of re-reading a book helps young children build their comprehension skills and their vocabulary. Consider having special books as parts of your routine, such as a bedtime book you read at the same time every night. Ask questions while you read, can they predict what will happen next?

7. Literacy rich environments

Point out to your baby or toddler all the things you read in a day. Read in front of them, emphasize that reading is something you value. Read cereal boxes at breakfast, magazines in the doctor’s waiting room, street signs while you are driving. Make books accessible to your child. Help your child grow up valuing reading as a critical skill and worthy use of their free time.

Helping your child grow to love reading is an amazing gift. Reading opens a world of imagination to your child! Make an effort to keep reading a priority in your home; a family activity that is fun, engaging and something you do together, every day.(http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/march_is_reading_month_early_literacy_skill_building_begins_at_birth)

5 steps to help your child love to read

Does your child dislike reading? Does he consider it torture? Punishment? A menial task he must perform before enjoying his afternoon? Your neighbor’s nine-year-old is gobbling up novels like they’re nothing more then a page of the Sunday Funnies and your son won’t even read the instruction manual for his newest video game.

Does your child dislike reading? Does he consider it torture? Punishment? A menial task he must perform before enjoying his afternoon? Your neighbor’s nine-year-old is gobbling up novels like they’re nothing more then a page of the Sunday Funnies and your son won’t even read the instruction manual for his newest video game.

Does your child dislike reading? Does he consider it torture? Punishment? A menial task he must perform before enjoying his afternoon? Your neighbor’s nine-year-old is gobbling up novels like they’re nothing more then a page of the Sunday Funnies and your son won’t even read the instruction manual for his newest video game.

If this plagues your family, you’re not alone. Helping kids develop an interest in reading can be unbelievably difficult. After all, what kid wants to spend time with books when there are so many distractions? Video games, sports, television and movies, etc, can all draw a child’s attention away from the all important quest for literacy. If your child is struck with the dreaded readingmakesmewanttocryitis disease, try using these five steps as a cure.

  1. Keep it short. Thick books can be a deal killer. Think back to the first time a teacher required you to read a book that stretched beyond the 300-page mark. You may have enjoyed it… if you actually read it. Heavy books can be as frightening as any movie monster. Small books, on the other hand, are less intimidating. Short chapters, a total book length of 100–150 pages, and a satisfying conclusion will have your child screaming victory. And success breeds more success. If they finish it, they’ll want to read more…
  2. Surrender to their wishes. We all want our kids to devour literary classics that will increase their vocabulary and turn them into geniuses. Children, however, don’t always share the same desire. Books with tiny print, overly descriptive scenes, and long breaks between dialogue and action… yeah, you can almost hear the Xbox turning on. Give them what they want. Goofy characters, tons of action, and—dare I say it—a smattering of mild potty humor to get them laughing. Once they’ve developed an interest in reading, then you can teach them the beauty of more advanced literature.
  3. Read it with them. What? You mean I have to read that garbage too? Yeah, you do. And not just as a preview. When they say, “Mom, you’ve got to read this book!” The best way to encourage them to continue reading on their own is to take them up on the offer. Have your own matching bookmarks and when you hop ahead a chapter or two, tease them a little bit. “Oh, you’re not going to believe what happens next!” Sharing in their excitement pays dividends.
  4. Don’t penalize with pages. Never use reading as a punishment. I had a child who hated going to the restroom because we would always send them to sit on the toilet for a “time out.” Needless to say, we paid the price for our poor choice in judgment. Using a book as a way to punish will only leave a bad association in your child’s mind. They’ll wonder what they did wrong the next time you suggest they read for a bit.
  5. Dangle the carrot. Many movies are based (at least partially) on books. The next time they preview a movie trailer and get excited about it, give your child an incentive to read the book first. If they finish before the movie is released, then plan a movie night with popcorn, candy, and other treats, and have your child invite a friend. In most cases, they’ll appreciate the book more and may even join the ranks of the fans who always say, “Oh, the book is so much better than the movie!” At that point, sit back, kick your feet up, and smile wide with pride. That child of yours has developed a love of literacy that will last a lifetime!
    (http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/family/5-steps-help-your-child-love-read)

 

Advancing Early Literacy for Low-Income Children

Rutgers alumna Marlene Veloso, an award-winning writer, founded the Kids Research Center to bring free literacy programs to children in immigrant communities

Marlene Veloso founded the Kids Research Center because she remembered the struggles of being an immigrant child learning to read English.

Marlene Veloso founded the Kids Research Center because she remembered the struggles of being an immigrant child learning to read English.

Marlene Veloso remembers struggling to read as a child.

“I’m not 100 percent sure whether I spoke English when I started kindergarten,” said Veloso, 36, whose parents emigrated from Portugal.

“So my reading wasn’t so strong, especially those first few years.”

Today, Veloso is more than a strong reader. The Rutgers alumna is an award-winning writer and literacy advocate for inner-city children. She founded the Kids Research Center in New York City in 2008 after an eye-opening experience as a freelance teaching artist in Washington Heights, N.Y.

“I was surprised to find the children I was working with at the YWCA were going through some of the same issues I was going through 20 years earlier as a child of immigrant parents,” said the Newark native.

As a poetry and literacy instructor, Veloso, who graduated from Rutgers University-Newark College of Arts and Sciences in 2001, knows a strong foundation in reading and comprehension skills are the key to her students’ success.  But she also knows that the lower-income families they come from have limited access to the diverse literature they need to engage them.

That realization inspired her to launch the Kids Research Center with a book drive.

Veloso wanted the children to “see their lives in literature. “I think giving them more opportunities and exposure to different types of books is a good thing for them so we can reach as many students a possible,” she said.

Photo: Courtesy of Kids Research Center The Kids Research Center helps build a positive association with reading by engaging children in fun, interactive programs that instill confidence and encourage learning.

Photo: Courtesy of Kids Research Center
The Kids Research Center helps build a positive association with reading by engaging children in fun, interactive programs that instill confidence and encourage learning.

The Kids Research Center courted children’s book publishers and corporate sponsors to collect more than 500 books for its first donation to New York Cares in January 2009. That spring, KRC hosted its first literacy workshop in Battery Park City to help parents understand how their children learn to read, and to present fun, literacy-based activities for families to adopt at home. Since its inception, KRC has launched four children’s literacy programs that travel to community centers, after-school groups and government organizations in New York City.

“We focus on reading comprehension, bringing in activities that are thought-provoking,” she said, “because those are the skills that will take them far in life.”

The group, headed by Veloso and a team of volunteer board members, also partnered with the New York City Housing Authority to build six reading rooms in housing project community centers. “Usually, community centers are cinder block rooms and are not the prettiest,” she said. “We bring in colorful book shelves and artwork and beanbag chairs and 1,000-plus books to create a cozy place where kids can read and do their homework.”

KRC has donated more than 12,000 books to more than 20 schools and organizations, including Bright Horizons Bright Space in Paterson and Veloso’s alma mater, the Ann Street School in Newark, where she remembers reading the Berenstain Bears and Sweet Valley High series.

When she’s not helping children read books, Veloso is writing them. In February, her story “The Return of J Walker” earned the Stephen J. Meringoff Writing Award for fiction from the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers. The honor comes with a $2,000 prize, publication in Literary Imagination or Literary Matters, and validation that the short story her first novel is based on resonates with readers and publishers.

“It’s definitely lifted my profile,” said, Veloso who lives in New York City with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. “I’ve gotten great advice from other writers and offers from publishers to help me out. I couldn’t be happier about it and prouder about it.”

Set in the performing arts world, the story follows a young immigrant woman who dreams of becoming a classical pianist. The tale draws from Veloso’s personal and professional pursuits and is crafted with the writing techniques she honed majoring in English and minoring in theater at Rutgers.

“English 101 and 102 really taught me how to analyze text,” said Veloso, who concentrated in creative writing and credits professor Michele Rittenhouse with teaching her a writing formula that she still employs today.

“The 12 steps to a hero’s journey; it’s the way I write stories,” she said. “It really laid the foundation I needed to work on my craft. It just makes me even prouder to have graduated from Rutgers.”
(http://news.rutgers.edu/feature/advancing-early-literacy-low-income-children/20150324#.VRVst_mUdvl)

Reading scheme boosts children’s language skills

An early years literacy scheme has helped pre-school children that were falling behind to catch up with their peers.

Parents that took part in the Early Words Together scheme were more likely to read to their child every day

Parents that took part in the Early Words Together scheme were more likely to read to their child every day

An independent study of the two-year pilot programme Early Words Together found that children who took part improved their language comprehension.

The scheme helps to develop young children’s communication and language skills through a six-week programme bringing practitioners and volunteers together to improve the home learning environment  for children aged two to five in target families.

The two-year pilot programme run by the National Literacy Trust was funded by the Department for Education.

It involved children in 120 early years settings  and children’s centres and nearly 1,000 volunteers and 2,000 parents.

An evaluation of the scheme’s impact was carried out by Coventry University’s Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement.

A survey with 776 parents that took part showed that at the end of the six weeks, three in four parents were reading with their child every day at the end of the programme, compared to half previously.

Eighty-six per cent of parents also reported talking to their children more.

Clare McGread, head of programmes at the National Literacy Trust, said, ‘Early Words Together raises parents’ confidence and gives them activities and strategies to promote their child’s early learning. We’re excited by this first look at the impact of the programme, which has had a distinct effect on families most in need of crucial literacy support.’

Comment from parents included that they read to their children more because they understand how important it was, while another said that their child wanted to visit the library every week now to borrow books.

Childcare minister Sam Gyimah said, ‘All children should join primary school with a good level of literacy and a love of books.

‘Learning to read and write is a key stepping stone to helping children express themselves in life. In turn, these skills are vital if they are to fulfil their potential.’

The study follows the publication of the early years toolkit by the Education Endowment Foundation that showed that parental involvement in a child’s education could boost their progress by five months over a year.

According to recent research by the Sutton Trust, children from the poorest families can be up to 19 months behind their wealthier classmates when they start school at five.
(http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery-world/news/1150525/reading-scheme-boosts-childrens-language-skills)