Leading dyslexia charity helps teachers, parents and pupils to ‘Drive for Literacy’

To mark Dyslexia Awareness Week this week, the Driver Youth Trust are launching a new website for the Drive for Literacy programme www.driveforliteracy.co.uk alongside a new campaign to engage teachers and parents called #YouKnowADyslexic launched by Eddie Izzard, who is himself dyslexic in this video: http://vimeo.com/108894770

A collaboration between the Driver Youth Trust and Ark, the new Drive for Literacy website will provide a free, practical resource for teachers, parents and pupils who want to understand more about dyslexia and how to identify and teach dyslexic children. The free resources, which are aimed at everyday situations and accessible to all in a language that is easy to understand, are based on a series of key questions asked by parents and educators, including:

  • What are the signs of dyslexia?
  • What do I do if I suspect my child might be dyslexic?
  • How can teachers better support dyslexic children?
  • How does it feel to be dyslexic?

Dyslexia affects one in ten people in the UK and is often described as a ‘hidden disability’ despite it affecting people throughout their lives. The #YouKnowADyslexic campaign aims to makes the one in three children in every classroom more visible.

The Driver Youth Trust - a charity dedicated to improving the life chances of children and young people who struggle with reading and writing, particularly children with dyslexia - has been working in collaboration with Ark, the academy network, since 2009.Together they have developed the Drive for Literacy programme, which has shown considerable success in improving children’s literacy levels.

Drive for Literacy is a whole school programme that trains school’s staff about dyslexia and how to recognise the signs of dyslexia, screens all pupils and puts interventions in place for those who have been identified as potentially having a literacy difficulty.

The Drive for Literacy programme supports staff and helps dyslexic children to progress. Training, resources and equipment are provided to staff around how to recognise the signs of dyslexia alongside a dedicated dyslexia lead teacher to offer support and guidance. Early intervention approaches are championed and screening is provided to all year one pupils.

Now in its fourth year the results are very encouraging: this year, more than seven in ten pupils using the Drive for Literacy programme because they were identified as potentially having a literacy difficulty passed the phonics screening check. This is over double the national average – only 38% of SEN pupils passed the phonics screening check. In addition pupils on free school meals (FSM) and who are SEN also do significantly better than the national average of those of equivalent groups, which shows the potential the programme has to narrowing the attainment gap.

Sarah Driver, founder of the Driver Youth Trust, says: “Drive for Literacy has proven to be a great success with Ark, but we want to ensure more children have access to it. The programme is built around three core elements – equal access where all children can learn despite their difficulties, developing a strong understanding of dyslexia and how to address its impact on individual and ensuring good teaching and learning practice.

“We know what works in helping dyslexic children to improve their literacy dramatically and this includes developing a whole school approach and adapting classroom practice with strong input from the schools senior leadership team. The Drive for Literacy website launch gives us an opportunity to reach more schools to put this vital support in place to benefit more children and young people.”

Sally Bouwman, network lead for dyslexia at Ark, says: “The Drive for Literacy programme has really enhanced the support we can offer to those who require extra help with a literacy difficulty.”

The Driver Youth Trust believes that addressing dyslexia is not just an SEN issue. Teachers need to have the skills to teach any children who struggle with literacy. One in nine and one in five children are not achieving the expected levels of reading and writing respectively when they leave primary school and a third of pupils did not reach grade C in English last year.

The Driver Youth Trust is showcasing the new website, including a range of films, and resources for teachers at the Drive for Literacy: Torri’s Day event taking place at The Royal Festival Hall on 12th November. The event is named after Torri aged nine, from Croydon, who has dyslexia and whose life with dyslexia feature in one of the films.

The Driver Youth Trust is a member of the national Dyslexia SpLD Trust, and the new Drive for Literacy website will feature resources from the Trust and other associated partners.

The Drive for Literacy website is available at www.driveforliteracy.co.uk

Join the campaign:

The #YouKnowADyslexic campaign includes a video endorsement from Eddie Izzard, who is himself dyslexic. The Trust is encouraging everyone to support the campaign: