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Literacy skills may receive cash boost

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: October 10, 2012

By NATALIE WAKEFIELD

ANDREW LEWER

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PLANS to pour £100,000 into literacy skills for pre-school children are to be discussed by Derbyshire County Council.

Ashbourne father and county council leader, Councillor Andrew Lewer has put forward plans to develop reading and writing projects for preschoolers and their parents over the next two years.

The county council’s cabinet are set to debate the scheme, which would offer support through libraries, midwives, health visitors and children’s centres.

Councillor Lewer said: “Language and literacy skills are critical to life chances and I would be keen for everyone to get behind this initiative to help parents better understand how to support their children’s development.

“We have carried out extensive consultation with parents to find out how we can help them best and aim to develop projects in partnership with a range of other agencies to meet these needs.

“This would be a fantastic opportunity for us to develop initiatives like volunteer mentor schemes within communities and to make sure all parents know about the support and help available through our children’s centres, libraries and adult education courses.

“We want to make sure that all parents get the information and support they need in the way that is most helpful to them.” The initiative is also aimed at encouraging parents to develop their own literacy skills to open up wider employment opportunities.

According to the National Literacy Trust around one in six adults in England have reading and writing levels of an average 11-year-old.

Councillor Lewer added: “People who have poor reading and writing skills often learn to hide their problem.

“Subject to Cabinet approval this funding would allow us to develop projects to help tackle the stigma and encourage people to step forward and get help.

“It would also highlight how improving reading and writing can be fun and rewarding and show it is never too late.”

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