New Website for the Promotion of Literacy and Reading Culture in the Family
“Parents are a child’s first teachers. From the child’s very birth, they teach him or her the things required for life by transferring their own knowledge and skills onto the child. Even if they do not do this consciously, the child copies them and learns from them “by itself”. They teach the child on using literacy skills in the family’s everyday life. If the family reads and writes more, the child learns early on what literacy is and how it is used,” wrote Dr Livija Knaflič in the address to the parents who will be visiting the družina.pismen.si website.
It has been like this forever. We have perhaps slightly neglected the role and importance of family in the first steps towards literacy in certain periods of time. We were reminded of this by various research in recent years dealing with literacy among young people and adults (PISA 2015, PIRLS 2016, and PIAAC 2016). The research confirms, without exception, that differences remain in Slovenia between the achievements of children from socially weak environments when compared to those who grow up in an environment with a rich social and cultural capital. Simple indicators, such as the number of books in the home environment when growing up and initial schooling demonstrate this gap time and time again. The achievements of the first and second group are improving but both the incongruence between their achievements and the negative effects of intergenerational transfer of poor literacy, the attitude to books and reading nevertheless remain.
Experiences from abroad show that schools cannot entirely replace deprivation arising from the lack of good role models and incentives for the development of early literacy and reading culture in the family. This gap is also not decreasing by itself as a result of the onslaught of digital media and many opportunities for learning, education and reading via various devices.
By setting up the družina.pismen.si website, we mainly strive to suitably approach parents who would like to learn how to make literacy more approachable to children. We address parents who only need some advice from an expert about reading with the child and those who need guidance and help in concrete cases. The family literacy website is designed with consideration of experts (teachers, librarians, guidance practitioners) who want to help parents introduce more literacy into family life. The live feature of the website is the Family Literacy Map where providers can publish events and programmes for parents and professionals.
The website is prepared with consideration of the various tasks and activities in the daily lives of families that could be organically associated with literacy: board and other games, book reading, cooking, shopping, watching TV, planning trips, hikes and walks through fairy-tales, study paths, etc.
We are especially pleased that experts of various profiles and professions are engaged both in the network and website creation and will therefore be able to contribute their expertise and experience. We see these two incentives as an opportunity to provide a space for dialogue, experience sharing, tie-building between the stakeholders and experts from all levels in the area of family literacy and reading culture in Slovenia.
Estera Možina, MSc (firstname.lastname@example.org), SIAE