Education charity Suas Educational Development and law firm A&L; Goodbody have announced a new partnership, which will see the company support Suas’s Literacy Support Programme over the next three years.
Over the course of the partnership, A&L Goodbody will support 3,000 young people across the country as lead partner to the Literacy Support Programme, through almost €150,000 in funding, in addition to significant pro-bono legal counsel and volunteering.
Recent research indicates that one in 10 children in Ireland leave school with serious literacy difficulties – a statistic that rises to one in three in disadvantaged communities.
The Suas Literacy Support Programme recruits volunteers and trains them to be literacy mentors. Supported by expert research on literacy teaching, and using assessment tools with a strong evidence base, volunteers are trained to provide learning and literacy support to eight to 14 year olds from communities around Ireland that are identified as having low literacy levels.
To date, 35 A&L Goodbody employees have volunteered as mentors for the programme, supporting schools with initiatives such as paired reading and the use of computers to improve reading, writing, spelling and listening skills.
“Investing in our children and ensuring they develop good literacy and numeracy skills is hugely important for our young people and for our society, and is a priority of this Government,” said Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD.
“This partnership will see hundreds of young people living in disadvantaged areas benefit from dedicated services so that they can reach their full potential, and I would like to welcome the significant commitment which A&L Goodbody and Suas have made.” Managing partner of A&L Goodbody Julian Yarr added: “With as many as one in three schoolchildren from disadvantaged communities having serious difficulty with reading, we are proud to help tackle this important social issue.
“Our partnership with Suas for the Literacy Support Programme is the flagship initiative within our wider Step Up community programme, which aims to create positive opportunities and support for those most in need in our community.”