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Blog: Read On Nottingham - Digital Literacy Champions

Lynne Towle, Read On Nottingham's volunteer manager, explains how 'lock-down' has empowered their volunteer workforce of literacy champions to develop a new digital offer to reach families!


At Read On Nottingham we have recruited and trained a team of volunteer Literacy Champions from a wide range of backgrounds to design and deliver projects which aim to improve literacy levels in their community. The volunteers are the ones who best understand the places they live and are supported to develop ideas which they know will work for the people around them.

In response to COVID-19 and as Literacy Champions were unable to go out and about in the community, we recognised that we should support them to become Digital Literacy Champions.  This would enable us to reach these communities through online and virtual activities. We also sought to recruit and train more Digital Literacy Champions to engage people in improving literacy as far and wide across Nottingham as possible.

These Literacy Champions became invaluable in sharing and signposting resources to help and support families and communities to engage their own children, families, friends and neighbours in reading and home-school learning.  They supported them to access the National Literacy Trust’s online learning resource called Family Zone – https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/  – which was launched at the end of March, as well as our local Read On Nottingham Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ReadOnNottm.

There are four main ways that Digital Literacy Champions have been supporting their communities:

Spreading the word

-       Championing the importance of good literacy skills to friends, families and local networks

-        Sharing, commenting and liking our Read On Nottingham facebook page and encouraging others to do the same

-        Identifying groups which they are linked with and sharing our resources with them

 Role modelling - Bringing our ideas to life!

-        Trying the activities that we created and shared on social media; commenting and liking these   

-        Sharing effective ways that they have supported children’s literacy

 Creating online content

-        Leading the way and inspiring other families to create online resources, such as a parent who shared a story in Urdu and others who  created child friendly quiz sheets

 Creating online/virtual networks

-        Digital Literacy Champions have created WhatsApp groups to share ideas

-        Creating virtual support groups for family and friends and sharing literacy ideas, such as holding a Storytime Zoom with Grandma or a sing-along on Facetime between cousins.

In a short space of time we trained 26 Digital Literacy Champions and established networks where they can stay connected and share good practice with each other. 

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