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London Literacy Champions impact

In 2011-12, the London Literacy Champions project recruited volunteers from communities across London to boost parents’ confidence in supporting their children’s literacy development.

Part of the Team London programme funded by the Mayor of London and the Reuben Foundation, the project was delivered by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with organisations across 20 local authorities: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Haringey, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth.

The London Literacy Champions project generated considerable community involvement in improving literacy in London. Over 400 volunteers gave up more than 5,000 hours of their time to work with 1,600 families and children in need of literacy support.

Professionals and parents taking part in the London Literacy Champions programme reported a significant increase in children’s basic literacy skills and behaviours.

Families reported significant changes in their children’s literacy development and how they as parents could support it – 84 per cent of parents felt that the project would have a positive long-term impact on their child’s reading and communication skills.

It has made a lot of difference because I now have a better understanding of how to support my child at home – I can be like his teacher! It has made a huge difference because I have learnt new skills. It has helped my child to understand new things.

Parent comment                                   

A practitioner review of participating children’s development in relation to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) found that the percentage of children who could be described as having reached the expected level for their age in terms of speaking and listening skills rose from 20 to 67 per cent by the end of the project.

Volunteers also benefited from the project. 88 per cent said they were satisfied with their volunteering opportunity and 89 per cent were satisfied with the impact it had on the families they supported. The majority of volunteers also felt that their involvement in the project had increased their knowledge and skills.

Read the full findings from the London Literacy Champions evaluation report.

2012 to 2013 delivery impact

With funding from the Brook Trust and Hodder Charitable Foundation, Literacy Champions was delivered through local authority services in Croydon and Middlesbrough, through community organisations Aspire and Succeed, Stepping Stones Family Support Project and Pre-school Learning Alliance in Birmingham and through housing association Peabody in London. Over 250 volunteers were recruited and 700 families invited to take part.

  • 90 per cent of parents believed that the project will have a longer-term impact on their child’s reading and communication skills
  • 6 in 10 children enjoyed sharing books more as a result of taking part in the project
  • Two-months after the project, 80 per cent of children still enjoyed sharing stories either quite a lot or very much
  • 8 in 10 parents reported that they talked with child more than they did at the beginning of the project
  • 86 per cent of volunteers felt that the experience had raised their confidence
  • 9 in 10 volunteers that had children themselves reported that they felt better able to support their own child/children’s literacy development
  • 89 per cent of volunteers reported that they would not only volunteer again but would also recommend the opportunity to someone else

I really enjoyed the sessions, it gave us that special time to read and make things with both my children, which made me realise that I should try to make time in the day to do things with my children.

Parent comment


"The sessions have given mother and child the opportunity to interact and have quality time together. The mother has learnt to give her child time to respond and ask questions about what he looks at in books."
Early years practitioner


"This is an incredibly worthwile project that has allowed volunteers to access our children's centres who have not previously had any involvement with our services."
Brent Council

London Literacy Champions evaluation report

Read the report from the 2011-12 London Literacy Champions project

Read the report

The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.