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Joining up adult and child literacy is essential

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If you are reading this then you probably owe thanks to your teachers.

Some of you will have had families where your parents also read with you as a child and supported that joy and delight of becoming a reader.

Reading not only opens up practical skills for everyday life and employment, but it also opens the doors of the imagination into other worlds through mediums such as poetry and fiction. In Medway not enough of our children are laying down those sound foundations in reading and writing throughout the primary phase of their education.

We are determined to change this through seeking to make a significant cultural shift to raise the ambition and expectation of children, families and the wider community.

Get Medway Learning is a key part of this changing culture, but it is also more that an aspiration, it is based on a series of practical actions. We recognise that some of our children may have parents who cannot or do not make the time to read with them and support their child’s emerging reading skills.

For some parents this will be due to their own poor literacy skills. Some parents’ literacy skills in English are weak as it is not their first language, or others may have had poor educational experiences as a child.

Whatever the cause, we know that not reading with children who are emergent readers leaves them to fall behind those children who have that additional support at home. Get Medway Learning will open opportunities for adults to address their own literacy needs as well as recruiting a cadre of volunteers who can read with those children who need that support the most so that no child is left behind.

We are working with Beanstalk, a local charity, to support this recruitment of reading volunteers. What is different is that we are working with all primary schools, both academies and local authority-maintained schools with a single coordinated approach. Get Medway Learning is part of our wider skills agenda that will focus on adults and their skills for employment.

Having a child often opens opportunities for adults to start learning again; we want to capitalise on these opportunities.  

Get Medway Learning is the foundation for the start of our emerging child-friendly Medway, where there is a clear commitment that everything we do as a council considers how we support our children who will be the next generation of people working locally, running businesses and raising their own children.

Barbara Peacock, director of children and adults services, Medway Council.



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