A SCHEME designed to help raise standards in literacy among pre-school children has been hailed a success in South Tyneside.
The Raising Early Achievement in Literacy (Real) project has seen 52 children take part at early years centres and through home visits and trips.
The project saw early years’ staff working with parents to help them support their children’s literacy development, through the four key strands of environmental print, books, early writing and oral language.
As a result of the programme, the number of people who became a member of a library has rocketed, and parents also reported growing confidence in their roles as educators.
Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “The Real project has been proven to be incredibly valuable in raising literacy standards.
“Encouraging youngsters to engage with words from a very young age is crucial, as this is the time when we can really start to develop their love of reading and writing, which they can then take forward and build on at school.
“One of the nicest things is the fact that parents and carers have reported discovering a new-found pleasure in spending more quality time with their children.”
One of the parents who took part in the project is Clare Waldron, who has seen her daughter Emily grow in confidence as a result of the project.
Clare, 30, of Marsden, South Shields, said: “As a family we have always read to Emily and we regularly visit the library, but being a part of the Real project has made us aware of so many other things we can do together, to support reading and writing.
“Emily now loves to collect wrappers and labels and reads shop signs when we go out. When we share books now, we talk about the stories and pictures more, rather than just reading the words. Real has been excellent!”
The early years centres which took part in the programme were Harton Primary; Stanley’s at Riverside; Abacus; Sue Hedley Nursery School; Hedworthfield Primary; Stanley’s at Hebburn and Nurserytime South Shields.
The programme is to run again at Sue Hedley Nursery; All Saints; Westoe Village Kindergarten; Harton Primary; Bede; Beach Hill Nursery; Ridgeway Primary Academy and Ridgeway Children’s Centre; Marine Park Primary and Riverside.