We launch #iwill pledge with Step Up To Serve
Posted by Danielle Wright
21 Nov 2016
Our Director Jonathan Douglas announces our #iwill pledge for #iwillWeek 2017
The child who I was mentoring became much more confident with their reading and was attempting more difficult words rather than just giving up. Their pronunciation of words also improved. From not reading in their own time, after the programme finished they took a book out from the library under their own initiative.” (Literacy Leader, Year 12)
This example from a Year 12 student who volunteers as a reading mentor as part of our Literacy Leaders project highlights the enormously positive impact of youth social action. But it’s not just a one-way street: our young Literacy Leaders also tell us how beneficial volunteering is for them, both in terms of celebrating and developing their skills, and for their well-being.
Character development statements compared between Literacy Leaders and other students.
Generously supported by PwC, our Literacy Leaders project provides secondary school students with a unique opportunity to identify the barriers to reading and writing for enjoyment in their schools and design activities to address them. Two-thirds of the students who volunteered as Literacy Leaders in their schools last year reported a desire to do more for their community as a result of participating in the project. This is great news, not only for them in terms of the positive impact on their confidence, aspiration, problem-solving skills and more, but also for their communities more widely.
Social action and literacy go hand in hand in that both help to build character, develop skills for employability and enhance wellbeing. We are therefore happy to support the vision for youth social action, which aims to have 60% of young people participating in social action by 2020. We know that young people who struggle with literacy are at greater risk of social exclusion. Our Literacy Leaders programme addresses both of these issues, in promoting literacy and providing meaningful and achievable volunteering opportunities for students.
Children and young people’s voices are at the heart of everything we do as an organisation. Last year, over 32,500 children and young people participated in our sixth Annual Literacy Survey. The trends we identify from this information shape our work, from our advice to parents on using apps to support literacy to our focus on speaking and listening in secondary schools. We’re now focusing on doing even more to enable young people to get involved and promote positive attitudes and behaviours to literacy in their schools.
“People think that English is boring, but once they get in the depth of literacy, it's not all just writing in your books and stuff like that. It can be really fun, you can create stories, poetry, lots of things like that. That's the whole point of [Literacy Leaders], it's to make literacy more fun.” (Literacy Leader, Year 8)
This week, in celebration of #iwillWeek, we are very proud to be launching our very own #iwill pledge, which we have worked with Step Up To Serve to develop:
- With our network of over 3,000 schools, we will explore ways to inspire students to share their love of literacy with others and take part in literacy-led social action
- We will expand our Literacy Leaders programme in which students in secondary schools mentor younger students with their literacy, from five schools to eight in 2016/2017
- We will nominate inspiring Literacy Leaders to be #iwill ambassadors to inspire even more young people to share their passion with others
- We will encourage our network of schools to get involved in #iwillWeek and celebrate the achievements of their students when they take part in high-quality social action
- We will ensure young people’s voices help shape the work we do
If you would like to find out more about out Literacy Leaders project, please visit www.literacytrust.org.uk/Literacy_Leaders
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