DfE bids to boost early literacy skills

Neil Puffett
Monday, April 29, 2013

Disadvantaged children are to get targeted help with reading and language as part of a Department for Education-backed project.

The £1m two-year project will see the National Literacy Trust work with 12 local authorities to develop new approaches to supporting early language and literacy.

The trust will provide training sessions to local services, including health visitors, social workers and community groups, so they can spot children aged two to five who are behind in literacy.

Families will then be encouraged to attend their local children’s centre where they will be able to receive support and choose books to keep.

The trust will also train volunteers in each of the areas to work with families and increase parents’ confidence in supporting their children’s language development.

Abigail Moss, deputy director of the trust, said research shows that children from the poorest homes are almost a year behind their better-off peers when starting school.

“Extra support for many of these families is essential,” she said.

“The National Literacy Trust has a wealth of experience providing strategic support to local authorities.

"We specifically want to increase understanding of the benefits of good home learning environments.

"A child’s life chances can be significantly improved through small and manageable changes in the home.”

The 12 areas that will benefit from the work are set to be announced in the coming weeks, with the project due to launch later this year.

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