Supporting Children at Home with Reading During the Pandemic

‘When we only read at home: How can we use what we learnt about home-led literacy during the COVID-19 school closures to support children with literacy difficulties?’

During the pandemic, Anna researched the homeschooling and well-being of families with SEND ( Subsequently, she created the Little Literacy Lessons for Families community project, which aimed at exploring how local families supported their children during school closures including children with literacy difficulties and multilingual families. The project resulted in a series of videos showcasing these activities for other families to follow (

In this presentation, Anna discusses the importance of the home environment in promoting the literacy skills of children with literacy difficulties. She reports on new data from her recent projects exploring the home-literacy activities, strategies and skills used by 100 families of children with literacy difficulties during the COVID-19 school closures.

We discuss the role of the family in promoting literacy skills in the absence of formal schooling, especially when having to battle perceptions about their own literacy skills, concerns about their child’s progress and lack of regular interaction with their child’s school.

Finally, we look at how these experiences translated into means to support children with literacy difficulties in the transition back to formal schooling and will discuss ways that professionals can use to continue to build on the acquired skills, means and confidence to promote a supportive home-literacy environment in the future.

About Anna

Anna is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Reading. She researches literacy difficulties in different languages. She is the Director of the PG Cert SENCo programme and convenes local professional community groups in her areas of interest including the NALDIC Berkshire/Hampshire Regional Interest Group, SEND-Collab, the community of UoR graduate SENCos, and the Language and Literacy theme of CeLM at the UoR.

Anna completed her PhD at Reading in 2016, which explored spelling in English and Greek native-speaking children with and without dyslexia. In her project, she worked with many families supported by the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre and the Centre’s staff. Since then, she is an advocate for co-production and open research seeking to include stakeholders as much as possible in the projects she designs and to communicate her findings to the community on a regular basis.

See Anna’s profile at University of Reading here.

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