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E801: Action 3.12: Family Literacy Programmes

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Tett, L. (2009) 'Excluded voices: class, culture and family literacy in Scotland' [Reader 2]
DVD - 'Early intervention in East Renfrewshire'
Read (2009) Chapter 19

One primary school in the local area was having problems with developing home school links. There had been security issues in the past and the area around the school was locked and no parents came further than the school gates when they picked their children up. The lady appointed as home-school coordinator was tearing her hair out as she was refused entry from home after home. Reading books that were sent home never returned to school as they were sold. The parents' evening she organised was attended by two parents and the event with free food and alcohol was attended by five parents!

Eventually she had a brainwave and persuaded the local authority to offer the school building as a very cheap venue for the local playgroup, brownies and cubs. In this way the parents stared entering the school and saw their children's work on walls and found that it was not quite so daunting. Eventually she managed to persuade some parents to help with craft activities by liaising with the leaders of the voluntary groups and from there they began to help with literacy as well.

It was not all a smooth pathway as the police raided the toddler group in order to arrest a parent drug dealing to the other parents but now there are thriving home-school links with family literacy and numeracy classes and they have more problems with keeping parents out than attracting them in!

The link with dyslexia is that the school now has the opportunity to discuss any concerns with parents; and parents have the ability and confidence to approach the school, either directly or through one of the parents who go into the classroom to assist.

The communication has improved to such a point that parents now feel involved in their children's school lives. In the past the teachers reported that many parents saw dyslexia as a problem that did not concern them. It was something the child 'did at school'. It was just nice to have a label to explain to their friends why their child sat at the 'green table' for work. Now parents are asking if they can do anything to help and complaining that the school are not doing enough!


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