We have been delivering the Early Words together pilot project in Lichfield and Burntwood since January 2014. It is a superb new initiative from the National Literacy Trust to help families develop their skills in order to help their children at home. Studies have shown that parents are a huge influence on children's educational success, so if they can help from very early on, it will have a knock one effect to school progress and beyond. The NLT call it the 'home learning environment' or HLE.
The 6 week programme looks at the importance of sharing books, how nursery rhymes are still important, mark making, choosing stories and also includes a visit from the library staff.
We took baselines at the start, although we found they were not too accurate as parents often said what they though we wanted to hear and the real answers didn't emerge until they trusted us! We re-assessed the situation at the end.
We have had some great results. To me, the biggest successes were the confidence they reported (and showed) to read and play with their children and 98% of the parents who attended were reading bedtime stories by the end of the 6 weeks! The membership of the library went up from 2% to 48%. If there have been similar successes in the national pilot, it will be rolled out across the country.