In the next episode of The Family Project on Monday 3 June, we meet Donna Lynch, who along with her former partner Paul, is raising their three children in Tallaght. Looking back on her own school days, Donna doesn’t feel she had the chance to fulfil her potential. “I enjoyed school but didn’t do as well as I could have,” she says.
Donna wants to make sure her own children make the most of their education, “I just want to be a positive role model for my children, I think that’s key for me. I want them to realise what their passion is,” she says.
Her daughter Lydia (14) is a keen writer and already has a plan. “Lydia has always said to me she wants to be an author from a very young age,” says Donna. She regularly consults with her brother Jonathon (11) when she’s developing a story as he has a very creative mind. But Donna is concerned about her seven year old son Darren who seems to be reluctant to read and she is worried he might be falling behind. “I think it might be a confidence thing,” she says.
In the TV programme the Lynch family is paired with best-selling author Sheila O’Flanagan who gets the whole family involved in writing and publishing their very own book. “What I’m hoping to be able to share with the family is a feeling of enjoyment of learning new things and achievement in reaching some goals together,” says Sheila.
The aim is to build on everyone’s interests, learn new skills and instil a love of reading and writing in seven year old Aaron.
In the programme we see Jonathon attend a Whizzkids class at school where he learns to do an animation for the book. “You’re pushing at an open door with a lot of these children, they have an interest in technology so it’s never any bother getting them interested in what we’re showing them” says the teacher.
We also meet literacy expert Bobby Borwick who gives Aaron some tips on reading and gets him involved in writing the introduction to the book. “I think it’s really encouraging him that his sister is writing a book and he can get involved – it’s really inspiring for him,” says Donna.
“It was amazing that she said she loved my writing – she said she thought it was kind of quirky in that I had a good rhythm to it, which coming from someone like Sheila O’Flanagan, that was amazing” says Lydia.
“I think it’s great that they all really feel a sense of ownership of the book” says Sheila. “Aaron had been so reluctant to read before and now every time I meet him he’s reading something, and he’s reading it with great enthusiasm which is great,” says Sheila.
The Family Projectis on RTÉ ONE at 7.30pm every Monday.
The Family Projectis a new six-part series that follows families from around Ireland working together to overcome educational issues that affect their lives. With the passion and involvement of some of Ireland’s most respected personalities, the series will both inspire and inform families on how easy it is to enrich their lives by learning together.
Since 2000, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) has been using the mass medium of television to highlight literacy issues, outline supports that are available, motivate people to return to education and provide opportunities for learning in the privacy of their own home.
NALA has also developed a website to help parents support their children’s education called www.helpmykidlearn.ie. It includes general information, fun activities and useful tips. Help My Kid Learn is a website where people can see that supporting a child’s literacy and numeracy development is a natural, easy and fun activity that can be integrated into any part of their day.