Thursday, 25 August 2011

Youth workers and literacy

Another interesting article from Children and Young People Now. In ‘Skills for the job: literacy problems’ Emily McCoy from the National Literacy Trust outlines the links between literacy and life chances, and explores ways in which youth workers can support young people who struggle with reading. I like McCoy’s suggestions for buddy systems and business mentors, and totally endorse what she says about the importance of celebrating all types of reading and writing, not least websites, blogs, magazines and text messages. I am very pleased that links with libraries feature prominently in her advice.

I have worked with youth workers over literacy projects, and can testify to the value of their involvement. They are great at providing young people who are disengaged with education with different ways of looking at issues. There are many excellent partnerships in the UK between library services and youth service providers, which have had a profound impact on young people’s attitudes to reading and their literacy skills. I so hope that the devastating cuts to youth provision and to many library services that we are currently seeing do not put an end to this vital literacy support.