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Literacy on the Loose: Supports for Families at Home

In this COVID world, families are at home together working, learning and managing as best they can in difficult circumstances.  For UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April, we are celebrating and highlighting the opportunities in the every day lives of families for parents to support young children learning to read and write.

A series of easy and accessible videos to help parents who are home schooling young children has been developed by researchers in Trinity in collaboration with colleagues in Marino Institute of Education and Limerick & Clare ETB. The videos, which are being released on World Book Day, aim to support literacy at home in a simple way and are targetted at children in early primary school and their parents.

The project is called Literacy on the Loose and features short videos focussing on areas such as ‘Literacy in the Kitchen’, ‘Literacy on the Couch’ or ‘Literacy in Nature’, ‘Literacy on the mobile’ and give parents handy guides to integrating learning into their everyday lives in a stress-free way.

The videos were shot by researchers from Trinity College Dublin, the Marino Institute of Education and Limerick & Clare ETB at their own homes, with many using their own children as subjects.

Literacy on the Loose is being led by the School of Education at Trinity and comes out of an Irish Research Council funded project on Family Digital Literacy in partnership with NALA.

It is being led by Dr. Ann Devitt, who is the Director of Research at Trinity College Dublin and the new Academic Director at The Learnovate Centre, one of Europe’s leading research centres in learning technologies based at TCD.

Dr. Devitt said she wanted to create a series of videos to help rather than overwhelm parents who are being bombarded with online links and resources. Dr. Devitt says:

"As a result of Covid-19, parents have been thrown in at the deep end in terms of educating their children and are being asked to home school their children in a time of anxiety. Many are doing this while at the same time holding down full-time jobs – or maybe they have lost their job – and feel under pressure.

Technology has been so helpful in terms of providing resources to parents but many feel overwhelmed by the amount of links being sent to them. We hope that these videos will lighten the load a bit. They are a guide for parents to show they don’t have to be sitting down at the kitchen table with books open to learn. The videos will help them integrate learning in a fun way into normal life."

The full list of videos are:

  • Literacy in the Kitchen: Dr Jennifer O’Sullivan and Clara Maria Fiorentini from Marino Institute of Education
  • Literacy in Nature:  Dr Jennifer Liston, School of Education, TCD
  • Literacy on the Television: Mary Flanagan, Clare Family Learning, Limerick & Clare ETB
  • Literacy on the Mobile: Dr Ann Devitt, School of Education, TCD
  • Literacy with Two Languages: Dr Colm Ross, School of Education, TCD
  • Literacy on Devices: Dr Ann Devitt, School of Education, TCD
  • Literacy on the Couch:  Professor Noirin Hayes, School of Education, TCD