This report evaluates the impact of the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together for Multilingual Families programme in Bedford, which ran from 2018 to 2019.
Early Words Together for Multilingual Families trains schools, nursery staff, and volunteers to help multilingual parents support their child's development. This programme enables parents to understand the value of the home learning environment, and equips them with the skills to interact with their young children in their home languages.
Since 2018, the National Literacy Trust has worked across Bedfordshire to deliver Early Words Together for Multilingual Families. We have worked in eight primary schools and four maintained nurseries in diverse areas where many languages are spoken.
An evaluation of the programme was undertaken between November 2018 and November 2019 by Chiara Cappellini, Evaluation Manager, and Alison Tebbs, Early Years Project Manager, at the National Literacy Trust.
The National Literacy Trust research report key findings include:
- Children’s language and communication progressed at a rate better than expected, with 75% of children in EWT progressing beyond expected levels in their language and communication
- Over half (55%) of children who started the programme with low levels of attainment made “rapid” progress. At the end of the programme, over a quarter of these “low starters” (27%) reached the expected level for their age
- Three in five (58%) parents report that their children enjoy sharing books “more than before”
- 55% of parents are more confident in “sharing books and stories with my child”. 51% told us that they are more confident “singing rhymes with their child” as a result of EWT
- One in three parents (33%) now speak to their child in their home language more often and 50% have a better understanding of why it is important to talk with their child
- There was a 72% increase in the number of practitioners who feel they have a positive relationship with EAL parents
- 86% of practitioners report they have an improved understanding of how to create positive interactions with multilingual parents
- All (100%) of the volunteers felt that they made a positive difference for the children who they worked with. Eight in 10 volunteers (78%) felt that their self-esteem, empathy and understanding of literacy as a social issue increased through volunteering with the programme