Reading Promoter SIKJM – Literacy Education in Early Childhood
In Switzerland, professionally trained ‘reading promoters’ raise awareness of the importance of early literacy and promote the Bookstart programme to parents and childcare professionals.
Creating a literate environment
Families, Health and social workers, Librarians, Municipalities and job centres, Teacher and educational specialist, ECEC staff/ care takers
• To promote early literacy in children under six years old
• Train reading promoters to work in institutions to model good practice
• To work with parents to develop good practice in early literacy
Since 2006 the Swiss Institute for Children and Youth Media (SIKJM) has trained 55 ‘reading promoters’ from a range of different backgrounds to go in to preschool institutions such as kindergartens, playgroups, parenting centres and public libraries to work on the Bookstart programme in the German speaking areas of Switzerland. These trained professionals work with educators, librarians, childcare professionals, parents and carers and a range of professionals working with children under six years old to promote the importance of a literacy rich environment and the diversity of literacy practices, and model good practice.
Reading promoters work alongside other adults in libraries, parenting centres, kindergartens, preschools and play groups to design programmes that promote early literacy to parents and carers. They have had an important role to play in promoting the importance of reading for pleasure, reading aloud to groups of children and educating adults about the diversity of early literacy practices.
The two year training programme involves 21 days of training, practical experience in a preschool environment and coaching in the second year. Trainees learn about the literacy development of children from birth to six and appropriate media for this age group as well as adult education. One of the strengths of this programme has been the professionalization of the reading promoters who have formed local and national networking organisations to strengthen the idea of a new profession.
The first two training programmes were financed by a Swiss Foundation. Since then, SIKJM has financed the programme from its own budget.
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