– 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.
We hear more and more about functional illiteracy (a concept that refers to people who know how to read, but do not understand what they read) and the statistics constantly give us alarming news. PISA tests
Publications – PISA (oecd.org) on reading, writing and mathematics carried out by the OECD, places us below the European ranking average.
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 Reading adventure project, which runs since 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:
- Develop the literacy skills of vulnerable children in partner schools in the project.
- Increase teachers’ access to professional training courses that support them in developing students’ literacy skills.
- Contribute to parents’ awareness of the need to stimulate reading among children.
We do this by:
- Setting up reading clubs in schools where students have access to a modern library with titles of interest to their age which they can enjoy in an informal, relaxing, attractive way
- Organizing literacy courses for teachers and providing support during project implementation
- Assessment of the literacy level of each child in order to be able to plan and adapt activities according to the level and monitor progress
- 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 develop their curiosity to discover and understand
- Encouraging dialogue and exchange of views. During the activities, a warm meal is offered, which is a real help for families with a precarious economic situation
- Tutoring (peer learning) whereby students support each other by developing feelings of fellowship 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 engagement 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.