Early literacy – A stepping stone for lifelong learning
The International Conference on early literacy education, organised by the German Foundation Stiftung Lesen, adopted a set of recommendations on how to improve early literacy education. UIL Senior Programme Specialist Ulrike Hanemann delivered the closing speech, bringing the various topics of the conference together by drawing on the comprehensive approach to Education for All (EFA) and citing research evidence to make the case for an intergenerational approach to early literacy in order to break the cycle of illiteracy. Such a family literacy approach recognizes the importance of early literacy and adult education as solid foundations for lifelong learning. Stepping stones in the early literacy process include implementing long-term policies and strategies, programmes and initiatives assigning parents an active role in supporting children’s learning and development, and coordinating various stakeholders.
The conference was held from 12 to 14 March and resulted in the Leipzig Recommendations on Early Literacy Education, which recognises the UNESCO definition of literacy as a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to understand and use printed and written language.
The recommendations are in accordance with the European Union High Level Group of Experts on Literacy held in September 2012, and call for all relevant stakeholders to become involved in early literacy education, from politicians and policy makers to donors and fund raisers, professionals, volunteers, families, societies and researchers. In short, early literacy education is everyone’s responsibility.