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Early Words Together

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Early Words Together launches in Glasgow

Innovative programme aims to boost literacy of Glasgow’s youngest children

The National Literacy Trust, in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council Education Services, has launched Early Words Together in Glasgow – an innovative programme aimed at improving the literacy levels of three to five-year-olds from the city’s most deprived communities.

The programme aims to give parents the skills they need to support their child’s reading, writing, speaking and listening at home.

Over the course of six weekly sessions, staff and volunteers from schools in Glasgow guide parents and their children through activities that, when done at home, have a positive impact on a child’s early literacy and communication skills. Activities include everyday chat, reading books, telling nursery rhymes, singing songs, mark making and visiting public libraries.

Early Words Together is currently being delivered in 18 schools in Glasgow. 22 staff and volunteers have been trained and 53 parents and families have been supported. By March 2019, the programme aims to have trained a total of 200 volunteers in 24 schools, supporting 312 families.

The programme, which is being run in Scotland for the very first time, has already been successfully delivered in over 30 English local authorities. An evaluation of the programme found that [2]:

  • Children who were struggling with their understanding of spoken language were able to catch up with their peers in just four months
  • Children’s school readiness increased
  • More parents reported reading with their child on a daily basis (increase of 38%)
  • Parents from the most deprived backgrounds talked more often with their child at home (88.1%), and were more confident in sharing books (78.3%)

Tara Parker, Early Years Project Manager at the National Literacy Trust, said: 

What a child learns in their very first years can determine what they are able to achieve in life. Parents play a crucial role in their child’s development, but they often tell us that they don’t know how to support their child’s learning at home. That’s where Early Words Together comes in – we want to help parents in Glasgow build the skills and confidence they need to help their child develop reading, writing, speaking and listening skills at home. We’re delighted to be working with local schools and nurseries, as well as our partners at Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council, to help transform the life chances of some of the city’s most disadvantaged children.

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: 

We know that reading, writing and counting with young children outside of school can support their understanding and also help develop their concentration skills, improve behaviour and support them to make friends. It can also boost their confidence and happiness.

But sometimes it’s hard for parents, carers and family members to know the best ways to support children to learn at home, and that’s why our schools work with families to find ways to learn together. Partnering with the National Literacy Trust to deliver Early Words Together in Glasgow, will hopefully make it easier for families to learn together outside of school, with fun activities to enjoy both at home and in their local library.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years, Glasgow City Council said: 

Our schools share a variety of methods and initiatives with parents and carers to enable them with the confidence to work with their children out with school to complement what their child is learning in school hours. We are delighted to work with partners who are working alongside us to achieve this and look forward to hearing how the project develops in our schools across the city.

The National Literacy Trust, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council Education Services have been granted funding by the Scottish Government’s Children, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund to run the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together programme in Glasgow. The programme will conclude in March 2019, when an evaluation will be published.

For more information, visit: www.literacytrust.org.uk/ewt