A Framework for Early Literacy Development with Parents
Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction and Models (2011–2012)
The project ‘A Framework for Early Literacy Development with Parents: Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction and Models’ ran from April 2011 to March 2012 and was funded by a Knowledge Exchange grant from the Economic and Social Research Council. It sought to build on the Sheffield REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) project by exploring how a new generation of early years practitioners could make meaningful use of the ORIM framework to support their work with parents to promote early literacy development.
The aims of the project were:
- To draw on the experiences and findings of the REAL project work with a new generation of practitioners and to identify key strengths of the ORIM framework which would enhance their work with families in a range of early childhood settings nationally.
- To facilitate the adaptation and use of the ORIM framework into current family literacy practices and new curriculum areas and for use with families and a range of practitioners nationwide.
- To encourage use of, and contribution to, the REALonline website in partnership with the National Children's Bureau so that these outcomes are widely available.
The project had a six objectives:
- To enable practitioners to learn about, engage with and adapt the ORIM framework to meet their pedagogical practices and interests within the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- To facilitate shared working between practitioners and researchers to develop work with families in their settings based on the REAL project programme and approach.
- To create an ongoing discussion, through joint working, group discussions and innovations of practitioners and researchers.
- To appraise, with practitioners, the ways in which they have used and adapted the ORIM framework for work with children and families on literacy and other curriculum areas in order to establish a democratic and two-way process of knowledge exchange.
- To upload resulting accounts and adaptations of ORIM to the REALonline website, thus creating an internationally available resource.
- To enable practitioners to gain a 30-credit accreditation of prior learning (where required) in the form of a research-based module of the MA in Early Childhood Education in the School of Education, University of Sheffield.
The project involved twenty practitioners.
The project began in May 2011 with a national conference at the University of Sheffield. Following this, a group of twenty early years practitioners were identified, from a range of local authorities and types of setting and background experience. The practitioners attended three 24-hour residential workshops where they discussed the ORIM framework and its application to current practice, shared ideas and developed new materials which portrayed their own use of the ORIM framework with families. These materials are available here. The project culminated in a second conference Early Literacy Work with Families conference 2 (15 March 2012)] in March 2012 at which practitioners shared their experience of working with the ORIM framework, including new developments.
The School of Education at the University of Sheffield has had considerable involvement in family literacy research and the present project builds on this rich resource (Weinberger 1996; Brooks et al.1996; 1997; 2002). The Sheffield REAL (Raising Early Achievement in Literacy) project, funded in large part by the Nuffield Foundation, has been shown to provide benefits for children, parents and teachers (Hannon, Morgan and Nutbrown 2006; Nutbrown and Hannon 2003; Nutbrown, Hannon and Morgan 2005). Its basis is the ORIM framework, by which means practitioners plan and evaluate family literacy work. This identifies parents’ roles and key strands of early literacy development that may be the focus of intervention.