Tag Archives: literacy

Literacy in a Digital Age | Beanstalk Event

Beanstalk are a nationwide charity dedicated to helping child literacy in the UK by sending trained volunteers into schools to read with them. We think this is really special which is why Beanstalk are Atwood Tate’s chosen charity. When they hosted a panel discussion on the topic of Literacy in a Digital Age, Anna went along to find out more.

In the news, recent headlines have decried a decline in the vocabulary of primary school children that has taken place in the last decade. Perhaps there is a correlation in the rise of portable technology. By using the best affordable technology to support provision to schoolchildren Beanstalk are hoping to improve national literacy levels. A new trial scheme has Amazon staff members Skyping school settings to bring voluntary reading support to remote locations it would be difficult to reach in person.

From the left: Ginny Lunn (CEO of Beanstalk), Andrew Franklin (Panel Chair; Publisher, Profile Books), Dame Julia Cleverdon (Chair of the National Literacy Trust), Francesca Simon (Author of Horrid Henry series), Prof Teresa Cremin (Head of Education at Open University), Dr Nicola Yuill (Director of Children and Technology Lab, Sussex University)

Smartphones and tablets can be a distraction, potentially leading to a lack of long-term concentration. The panel were asked whether technology could help teachers support reading or indeed help reading levels in general. The outlook was generally positive.

Comments ranged from 0-3 year olds being encouraged by tablets; the interactivity and personalisation a story with the aid of technology engaged otherwise reluctant readers; Prof Teresa drew attention to audio supplements and the digital book apps by Nosy Crow; text-based computer games can also expand a player’s vocabulary. Learning to read can be hard – and technology by its very nature is non-judgemental.

Francesca pointed out that her market is 5-8 year olds and ebooks account for less than 1% of her royalties. A parent downloading a portable copy of a book their child already has. Children still like physical books the panel agreed. How much of that is cultural habit future generations will discover.

Studies show that children are more likely to share an open book than a tablet or phone screen Dr Nicola explained, although phones for us are private and personal. Any discussion therefore needs to include frank conversations about how we interact with technology in society. The panel concluded that literacy is about more than just reading. It is about sharing ideas, stories, interests and enjoyment. Part of what Beanstalk does so well is connecting children with adults who will encourage them to read what interests them.

The ideal is to interact through the technology, not with the technology. We just haven’t got there yet. Nursery rhymes have incredible potential and replicating the anticipation with a picture book, with gaps for words and interaction may well be possible with the mediated experience delivered by technology. This could help in home environments where adults cannot sit and read with a child for ten minutes a day.

Other things discussed included the dearth of reading aloud as it is not included in school targets. The audience contributed to the conversation too and acknowledged the scale afforded by technology as it can reach more people, bringing together a community of shared readers; social media can suggest books suitable for a certain age group to busy parents.

When 1 in 4 children do not own a book of their own in the UK and public libraries are closing it is easy to think that access to books is the only problem but technology can give access. The other major issues are generating the desire to read and knowledge of what is available. Technology is the tool, not an answer in itself.

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Beanstalk | Story Starters

Beanstalk Story Starters

Beanstalk | Story Starters

Last month our chosen charity, Beanstalk, received some fantastic news! They were awarded £1million by the DreamFund (People’s Postcode Lottery) for their partnership ‘Story Starters’!

‘Story Starters’ is a collaborative project, which will see Beanstalk working with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and LuCiD at the University of Liverpool. They will be working together to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive one-to-one support and mentoring to develop their language and reading skills!

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity who recruits volunteers to work in primary schools with children to help them develop their reading. Volunteers are specially trained to spend 30 minutes, two times a week, reading with a child one-to-one for a whole year. To help children develop the truly important skill of reading. In 2016 alone Beanstalk helped over 11,000 children across the UK, in deprived areas, and with this funding they can help many more.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a global programme operating worldwide, with more than 1 million children receiving books per month, to help them fall in love with reading. LuCiD is a research collaboration which is researching how children learn to communicate with language.

Beanstalk

The CEO of Beanstalk, Ginny Lunn, and the Beanstalk partners receiving their DreamFund cheque – all rights attributed to Beanstalk

Previous research has shown that support within schools at schools can benefit children throughout their life. 20% are more likely to get 5 A*-C GCSE’s and earn more as adults.

This is a very exciting time for Beanstalk and we couldn’t be more pleased for them. With the £1million funding they will be able to recruit and train a further 600 Story Starter volunteers and help 1,800 children between 3-5 years old to develop their reading!

Beanstalk is a truly worthwhile charity and we’re happy to support them! If you would like to learn more about Beanstalk, and Story Starters make sure you check out there website!

Be sure to check out our previous fundraising challenge for them, and let us know your ideas for the next! You can send us your ideas via social media or commenting on this blog post: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

 

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Help make a difference in a child’s life…

Beanstalk Logo
As well as helping candidates make the right decisions for their career and clients make the right choices in candidates to grow their business, we here at Atwood Tate are passionate about the bigger picture – namely, that people have the resources to read and improve their lives. Because of this we actively support the Beanstalk charity.

Beanstalk has entered into Direct Debit’s Big Break competition and they need our votes to be in a with a chance of winning £2,000 – enough to provide vital literacy support to 6 children for a whole year!

Beanstalk’s profile is now live and they have until 30th April to get as many votes as possible if they want to scoop the top prize. Every vote counts as the second placed good cause will receive £1,000 and the runners up will receive a share of £2,000. To cast your vote, please follow the link.

Last month’s winner received over 3000 votes so we encourage you to vote for Beanstalk today! The more votes we can get the better so we ask you to please share on your Facebook page and among your friends and family and ask them to pass it on too.

A donation of £2,000 would help Beanstalk make a life changing difference to child in need.

Thank you for your support!

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