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Research context

Why is Literacy Champions needed?

By using the unique qualities of peer volunteers, Literacy Champions promotes community engagement and action. This programme empowers parents to find their own solutions to the barriers preventing them from supporting their children’s learning development.

In 2008, the National Literacy Trust undertook a review of research into the role of families and the home environment in developing children’s literacy skills. The following key findings have informed our focus for partnerships with communities and local areas:

Families: parental involvement is a more powerful force for academic success than other family background variables.

Early years: the earlier parents become involved in their children’s literacy practices, the more profound the results and longer-lasting the effects.

The home: parents have the greatest influence on the achievement of young people by supporting learning in the home rather than in school.

Role models: even at age 16 parental interest in a child’s reading is the single greatest predictor of achievement.

Disadvantage: rates of low literacy are highest in disadvantaged communities and low literacy is a barrier to social mobility.

20 per cent of children leave primary school without reaching the level expected for their age[1]. Early intervention to support young children's early literacy development before they start school is vital to supporting all children's later outcomes. Research shows that parents’ and carers’ involvement in their child’s learning positively affects performance at school[2] but many parents are not aware of the importance they play in their child’s education[3]. The National Literacy Trust’s Face to Face research demonstrates that one in eight parents believe that their child’s language acquisition is somebody else’s role, and that 82 per cent would welcome more information about how to support their child.

[1]Department for Education and Skills (2003) The Skills for Life Survey: A national needs and impact survey of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.
[2]Jeynes, W.H. (2005) A meta-analysis of the relation of parental involvement to urban elementary school student academic achievement. Urban Education
[3]Harris, A. and Goodall, J. (2007). Engaging parents in raising achievement – do parents know they matter? Research Report DCSF RW004

London Literacy Champions evaluation report

Read the findings 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.