Skills for life

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

This project is an intergenerational project targeting children aged between 11 and 13 who are reluctant readers. We know that reading is a critical skill enabling children to access the curriculum and have a successful outcome in their exams and improving their life chances.
This project links the children together with older reading partners from the community and uses e-readers instead of books to encourage engagement. The child will read twice weekly with their reading partner and in exchange for assistance reading the child will help the reading partner to develop their technology skills. In addition to the above skills this project will develop the child’s social skills and for the adult provide social interaction tackling the problem of adult loneliness.
The programme will initially take place in four collaborating Hounslow secondary schools. Each school will identify 20 students who would benefit from this programme from Year 7 and Year 8. Hounslow’s Promise would recruit 20 older members of the community who they feel would benefit from the scheme. Participants will be provided with an e-reader and training on how to have supportive conversations.
A pilot project was run at Cranford Community College in 2016 -17 to explore the use of e-reader technology in supporting the development of children’s reading competency. Twelve children were identified some of whom had a reading age 5 years below their chronological age. None of the students identified had English as their first language suggesting their low score was due to lack of opportunity for language practice and acquisition rather than learning difficulties. The group was split into two groups with a control group given a physical book and the others e-readers. Although all students improved their reading age the e reader children were the most enthusiastic about the project. Below are some quotes about how the e reader helped.
‘I would choose the Kindle for reading because if you do not know the word I can just touch the word that I do not understand. The dictionary will pop up and there you can know the word you do not understand’
The children also found the audio helpful for understanding how to pronounce words they were not familiar with. Simple things about the functionality of an e reader such as keeping their place made reading easier. Others reported that it preserved their street cred as other did not know what they were reading.
The teacher commented, ‘Most of the students in the Kindle group have now finished reading and are writing a review. The book group however are significantly behind with some only half way through the book. The Kindle group are most definitely more engaged and all seem to want to read more on the Kindle’
The above evidence indicates that the use of e-readers has a positive effect on students who are struggling with reading. The e-reader combined with the ‘club’ context will facilitate increased enthusiasm for and confidence with reading and communication.
There is also well-documented evidence of the benefit to young people of having adult mentors. While the project will not be a formal mentoring programme it is anticipated that informal mentoring will occur throughout the programme.
Adult participants will benefit from engaging with the young people. There is considerable evidence that loneliness and isolation lead to mental health problems amongst older members of the community. They will also benefit from improved confidence in using new technologies like the e-reader particularly as functions like audio and variable text size will help them with continuing reading.
The £10000 will provide for 80 e-readers, staffing costs for set up and administration, DBS checks and the production of a club handbook.

Feltham Arts Association Limited

Location: London Borough of Hounslow, United Kingdom

This project through Feltham Arts allows Hounslow’s Promise to address a community need in Hounslow. Hounslow’s Promise is a recently established organisation which seeks to improve educational attainment, employability, youth leadership and social mobility through five promises to young people.
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