With a specific focus on early childhood and primary school years, this team looks at the development of emergent literacy in family and preschool education, as well as the foundation of literacy performance in primary schools. All team members are well aware that the early years are very important for the later achievement in literacy. From conducting desk research and compiling comprehensive country reports, to observing good practice projects on site – this team has its hands full. Thanks to special expertise in their fields, members of Team Childhood skilfully navigate the vast sea of existing empirical research to create coherent country reports and present good practice examples.
Renate Valtin, from the German Society for Reading and Writing, spearheads this team of experts coming from the following organisations:
Aarhus University, Denmark
Austrian Library Services, Austria
Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, Cyprus
Finnish Reading Association (FinRa), Finland
General Hospital Dubrovnik, Croatia
German Society for Reading and Writing (DGLS), Germany
Health Centre for Children (CSB/ONLUS), Italy
Institute of Education, United Kingdom
KWP Rotterdams Talent, The Netherlands
Literacy Centre Styria, Austria
Mother Child Education Foundation (AҪEV), Turkey
Slovenian Reading Association, Slovenia
Spanish Reading and Writing Association, Spain
St. Patrick´s College, Ireland
Swiss Institute for Children´s and Youth Media, Switzerland
Tallinn University, Estonia
UK Literacy Association (UKLA), United Kingdom
University of Crete, Greece
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
What people in Team Childhood say about ELINET
"I am inspired by working with literacy professionals from different fields and I appreciate the promotion of literacy in the Czech Republic." Veronika Laufkova – Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
"I find my work for ELINET very interesting because it helps me develop an understanding of the common challenges we as Europeans encounter in the quest for promoting literacy." Lefkios Neophytou – Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, Cyprus
"ELINET triggered us three Finnish partners to bring together some 50 literacy stakeholder organisations in Finland to active collaboration. This is big!" Ann-Sofie Selin – Finnish Reading Association
Interview with team leader Renate Valtin, German Society for Reading and Writing
What is your team’s responsibility in ELINET?
Team Childhood comprises the age group from birth to around the age of twelve, which is in most European countries the end of primary school. Together with Team Adolescents and Team Adults our team has mainly two tasks: to write country reports about literacy performance and literacy policies in the 30 countries involved in ELINET and to identify and exchange good practice examples based on this framework.
What do you hope to achieve with your team?
Up to now the information about literacy performance and policies are widespread in different data bases and reports. We hope to collect and systematize the existing knowledge in a coherent report and to develop a common European Framework of Good Practice in Literacy Policies for our age group.
What are the main challenges in your work?
Team Childhood, being concerned with young children, faces the challenge to combine four aspects when producing the country reports: family literacy, preprimary years, primary years and the results of PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study). Another challenge is that there are already many reports and analyses about this age group available.
How can those obstacles be overcome?
Instead of just repeating already existing knowledge we have taken a more deductive and problem-based approach, and we focus on factors, indicators and aspects that have not gained much attention in past reports but are highly relevant for fostering emergent literacy, literacy performance and related policies. We have developed templates based on the common framework of Teams Childhood, Adolescents, and Adults and divided our task in subgroups.
Personally, how did you become interested in literacy work?
From early childhood on I was a vivid reader and was astonished to meet pupils during my initial teacher training who experienced difficulties in reading. So I wanted to know more about this phenomena, started with a little study for my teacher examination and conducted an empirical investigation on dyslexia for my doctoral dissertation. Although my professional interests are broader and directed to learning and personality development and socialization theories, I always came back in my research to literacy topics.