24 April 2009

Reading for Life

You may remember reading on our blog last year about the 2008 National Year of Reading, at the end of March, the National Year of Reading team published Reading: The Future, a report that reviews both the achievements of the Year and all that we learnt about promoting reading. Significantly, the report details the impact of the Year on the attitudes and behaviours of key target audiences.

The most important message in the NYR report is that it worked. Behaviours and attitudes to reading among target audiences were benchmarked at the beginning of the campaign; the survey was repeated at the end of the campaign to see if there had been any shifts. The headline data shows:
  • Nearly 13 million individuals in target social groups C2DE were reached through the campaign, 57% of the total C2DE adult population (only 75% of this segment of the population can be reached through the media)
  • A significant increase in library membership among C2DE parents and their children; 70% of these children are now members, compared with 58% before the campaign
  • An increase in library membership nationally; 2.3million new library members recruited between April and December 2008
  • A significant increase in the proportion of C2DE parents reading to their children every day (from 15% to 20%).
  • Among C2DE fathers who read to their children, over a quarter say they now read every day compared with 19% at the baseline survey
  • A significant increase in children saying they read with their mothers every day (32% up from 17%)

This is all fantastic news, and this is a moment when everyone who worked to make the National Year of Reading a success should be proud. Every librarian, teacher, tutor, local authority adviser, publisher, bookseller and early years practitioner who promoted the National Year of Reading is a stakeholder in its success and should be relating to their managers their contribution to these achievements.

To build on the success of the National Year of Reading, the
National Literacy Trust has launched Reading for Life, a new campaign to continue the work of the Year by improving the life opportunities of people in most need through reading.

22 April 2009

Airport Guide

I've just been sent a link to a new guide that has been produced by Manchester Airport to help passengers travelling with children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The booklet is designed specifically for this group and Manchester Airport but I think it looks great for all children and I'm sure that it could be useful even if you are travelling from a different airport.

The guide is available FREE from the information desks in all three terminals at Manchester Airpor or you can download it here. Called 'Airport Awareness', the guide uses airport images to show what to expect on your journey through Manchester Airport, starting from arriving to checking-in to going through security and returning home.

The guide is the initiative of airport employee, Katy Gough, who secured funding from the airport's Customer First scheme, which invests in staff suggestions that improve the airport for passengers. Katy created the guide after several passengers requested photographs of the airport to allow them to plan their trip. Katy, who works as a Press Officer at the airport, has personal experience of the disorder through a member of her immediate family and wanted to use her experience to help those passengers whose children have ASD. The unfamiliar sights and sounds of the airport can cause a great deal of stress and worry both for the young passengers with ASD but also their families.

14 April 2009

Blog Roll - A Boy with Asperger's

A Boy with Asperger's is a blog created by a mother of two children as a place that allows her to express herself, get heard, raise awareness, rant and rave and most importantly share. She wants to share her son with the world to show everyone that having a child with ASD doesn’t mean the end of the world. She wants her blog to reach out to other parents that like myself have just taken that big step into the Aspergers/ASD world.

Do you have a blog you want featured on our blog roll? if so please add a comment and let us read it!

11 April 2009

Grow your own

We've been busy in the garden so far this Easter Holidays with the children planting seeds (mixed flowers, pumpkins for the biggest pumpkin competition and sunflowers for the tallest sunflower competition!).

If you are avid gardeners as part of BBC’s Dig In series, you can get some free seeds. The aim of the series is to introduce the joys and benefits of growing your own. It’s easy to get some free seeds - you’ll be sent tomatoes, squash, beetroot, lettuce and carrots by filling in a simple form on their site. Smaller gardeners (under the age of 16) can get their own seeds from the CBeebies website!

Letting children help to grow their own food is an fabulous learning experience for them, which teaches so much. Planting seeds involves literacy skills - reading growing instructions and writing identification labels, numeracy skills - counting the seeds and sharing them between pots, and the digging, sowing, watering involved is great for gross and fine motor skill development.

Are you going to grow your own this year? Do comment and us know what are you growing and your top tips!

10 April 2009

Signed Stories

I've just come across Signed Stories a new ITV website, which shares educational stories through sign language, sounds and animated pictures.

Signed Stories has a very simple goal – to help improve the literacy of deaf children nationwide by allowing them to share in the joy of storytelling. It’s also designed to provide useful advice and guidance for the parents, carers and teachers of deaf children; and for the deaf parents of hearing children.

Signed Stories has been designed primarily as a website for deaf children – although hearing children will enjoy it too. It’s a fun, busy space which encourages children to explore and offers easy access to a wide range of the best of British books.

But it's also designed to be a resource for adults to use alongside children. The videos can be paused while you point to signs, illustrations and words, and the introduction will tell you why we've chosen those stories - which ones are good for introducing new signs or adding props and toys and which ones are simply fun to share.

I've just had a quick look and there are plenty of favourite titles including "Not Now Bernard", "Owl Babies", "Chimp and Zee" and "Six Dinner Sid". More books and nursery rhymes are promised throughout 2009 - so it's worth bookmarking and revisiting it over the coming months.

04 April 2009

Blog Roll - Isn't She Talking Yet?

Many of you may know about India Knight and her fantastic weblog ‘Isn’t she talking yet?’ which but we thought it was definitely worth including on our Blog Roll. After writing an article in The Sunday Times about her daughter's special needs (Nell has a cardiac condition called truncus arteriosus, and DiGeorge Syndrome, aka 22q11 deletion) she was so inundated with e-mails that she has launched this weblog as a forum for parents in a similar position to keep in touch, compare notes and help each other. You can read about India and her daughter here.

02 April 2009

Autism Awareness Day

The United Nations has declared 2nd April - World Autism Awareness Day, with the aim to increase and develop world knowledge of autism. The day brings together autism organisations all around the world, giving a voice to the millions of individuals worldwide who are undiagnosed, misunderstood and looking for help.

In the UK the autism charities have come together to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. They are working to persuade UK governments to recognise autism as distinct from other conditions, deserving urgent strategic planning, policy development, and dedicated resource allocation.

They want everyone to STAND UP FOR AUTISM and call upon governments in each of the devolved nations of the UK to take action to ensure:

  • individuals with autism are not unfairly discriminated against and their rights as people with disabilities as well as citizens are promoted;
  • that action is taken to remove barriers to access and address the communication and sensory needs of people with autism – including raising public awareness;
  • the numbers of people with autism are counted to ensure equality of provision of, and access to, services and support;
  • adequate research funds are made available to increase understanding of autism and develop appropriate interventions and support;
  • that resources are made available to support those living with autism and to ensure those working with people with autism are appropriately trained.

For more information:

Autism Alliance UK, Autism Anglia, Autism Cymru, Autism Initiatives UK, Autism London, Autism NI (PAPA) , Autism Speaks, Autism West Midlands, Disabilities Trust, Hampshire Autistic Society, Kingwood, National Autistic Society, PEAT NI, Prior's Court School, Research Autism, The Scottish Society for Autism, Sussex Autistic Community, Treehouse, The Wessex Autism Society, UK Autism Foundation

Please comment and tell me about your children and experiences to help raise awareness.