Adventure through reading
– a project aiming to combat functional illiteracy among children from disadvantaged backgrounds –
All children have the right to education, regardless of their background, in order to develop to their native potential. Unfortunately, the economic situation of the families they come from and the limitations of the communities they grow up in make their path difficult.
About functional illiteracy (notion that refers to people who know how to read, but they don’t understand what they read) we hear more and more often and the statistics constantly give us news that mantle. Publications – PISA (oecd.org) tests for reading, writing and mathematics carried out by the OECD, place us below the average of the European ranking. PISA 2018 results: Romania obtains the lowest score in the last 9 years, the biggest drop being in Mathematics. Functional illiteracy, at its peak – Edupedu.ro and in decline compared to previous assessments. The percentage of functional illiteracy rose from 39% in 2015 to 44% in 2018 (OCED, 2019), a fact that sharpens the need for intervention, especially in disadvantaged communities.
In order to support these children, United Way Romania has developed the Adventure through Reading project, which will run starting in 2021 in rural communities in need.
The intervention aims to prevent and combat the risk of functional illiteracy among children in a vulnerable situation by ensuring access to specific literacy activities.
Communities at risk are selected, and the beneficiaries are children from families with a precarious socio-economic status. The project approaches an integrated method of intervention, acting both on children (activities to stimulate reading for primary and/or secondary school children), but also on parents (information actions and awareness of the importance of education and reading) and teachers (training professional in the field of literacy and work with vulnerable groups) to educate and mobilize the entire community in order to achieve lasting results and increased impact.
We aim to:
- We develop the literacy skills of vulnerable children from the partner schools in the project.
- We increase teachers’ access to professional training courses that support them in the development of students’ literacy skills.
- We raise parents’ awareness of the need to stimulate children’s reading.
We do this by:
- Providing and setting up reading clubs in schools where students have access to a modern library with titles of interest for their age, which they can enjoy in an informal, relaxing, attractive way
- Organizing literacy training courses for teachers and providing support during the implementation of the project
- Assessment of the literacy level of each child in order to be able to plan and adapt activities according to the level and monitor the evolution
- Organizing activities to stimulate reading, in small groups of children, in a playful and relaxing way so that the little ones discover the joy of reading and their curiosity to discover and understand is developed. Dialogue and exchange of views is encouraged. During the activities, a hot meal is offered, which is a real help for families with a precarious economic situation
- Tutoring (peer learning) through which students support each other developing their feelings of communion and mutual help. Children become a resource for their peers (younger or with less developed skills), there is an increase in self-esteem and confidence in their own potential.
- Thematic trips where children have the opportunity to get out of their everyday environment and visit various bookstores, libraries or other spaces where reading is promoted.
- Information and involvement activities for parents to raise awareness of the importance of education and reading in their children’s development and future. Resources and ideas are provided to encourage and facilitate reading in every family.
- Voluntary activities through which good people, supporters of the project’s purpose, want to contribute to the development of children.