Sunday 8 September marks UNESCO International Literacy Day. For 40 years, UNESCO has been celebrating this day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning.
In Ireland, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) has been responsible for making sure people with literacy difficulties can fully take part in society and have access to the tuition they need. Currently there are 57,000 adults attending ETB* adult literacy courses nationwide and thousands learning online through NALA’s Distance Learning Service.
Parents log-on in thousands to support their children’s learning
Last year NALA extended its work to support parents with their children’s literacy by developing a new website called HelpMyKidLearn.ie. The aim of the website is to provide fun activities that parents can do with their children to improve their reading, writing and maths skills. Since the launch, 65,000 people have visited the site, with a staggering 570,000 page views in its first year. 800 people have also signed up to receive monthly updates from the website.
“We know from our work in this area that parents understand how important their role is in helping their children learn but very often they are stuck for time or easy access to resources. That’s why we developed Help My Kid Learn – to support parents by giving them lots of practical ideas they can build into their daily routine. And looking at the amount of people using the website and indeed returning to it a number of times, there is obviously a huge demand for this information,” said Inez Bailey, Director, NALA.
Play is one of the most effective ways children learn and the site is packed full of fun activities, from card games and hopscotch that help practice maths, to children’s e-books and apps for reading and pleasure. Some of the most popular activities on the website include Nursery Rhymes for 0 – 2 year olds and Word Association and Board Games for 5 – 7 year olds.
“When we developed the website we focused on the way children learn as part of their everyday lives and especially the positive things that children learn at home from their families,” said Inez.
“We don’t expect parents to be mini-teachers, it’s the simple practical things they do at home that reinforces what they learn at school. For example, cutting a pizza and talking about halves or quarters help a child’s understanding of maths, or nursery rhymes help a child’s early oral development. So this September, if your kids are back at school or starting créche, this is a great resource to help you support your child’s learning in a fun way,” she said.
The website was developed by NALA and supported by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) as part of the actions outlined in the national strategy to improve literacy and numeracy among young people: ‘Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life’ (DES 2011). It recognises that parents who are engaged in their child’s learning have a significant positive impact on a child’s educational achievement, especially in literacy and numeracy.
The site will be reviewed and added to on an on-going basis and the National Adult Literacy Agency is asking that parents leave comments and rate the activities so that it can be continuously improved according to their needs.
The website is easy to use. All a parent has to do is enter their child’s age and they will be presented with 25 ideas for helping children with talking, playing, reading, writing and working with numbers. People can also sign up to get tips and reminders every month of fun ways to support their child’s learning.
* ETB stands for Education and Training Board. It is the new name for your local VEC.
For media queries please contact:
PRO, National Adult Literacy Agency
087 6486292 / 01 4127909