The skills of reading and writing have a crucial effect on success in basic education, application for secondary education, progress in studies and later employment. Research results show an unfortunate deterioration in the reading skills of Finnish youth. This also applies to writing skills. From the northern Finnish point of view, it is a very alarming trend also attracting public attention that there has been a worsening in the reading skills of northern Finnish boys in particular.
It is important to intervene in this situation, because an educationally unequal position is possessed, especially in the transition period to the secondary level, by young students whose basic skills in reading and writing are deficient, and whose studying skills are also poor in general. The project will further define the picture given by national assessments of the reading and writing skills of adolescents, especially boys, in the pilot schools, and of the underlying factors. The main goal of the project is to develop the literacy skills of young people by using enhanced pedagogical methods and procedures at the level of school, class, group and individual.
Actions and results
The project includes literacy and other assessments (e.g. motivation and coping) among the ninth-graders in four pilot schools in Lapland and Northern Ostrobothnia. Students, teachers and parents will be interviewed to get an outline of the situation and to obtain background data. Measures will be planned and implemented for the young people who, based on the acquired data, are in the poorest situation in the progress of their studies and acquisition of a vocation.
To enhance reading and writing skills, various pedagogical approaches and well-founded practices will be experimented with in the pilot schools. Based on the acquired experiences and knowledge, pedagogical models to enhance reading and writing will be developed and tested. The efficiency of the support given will be monitored as far as possible within this project. Based on the project, a virtual literacy support centre will be piloted to serve northern Finland, offering expert assistance to the students, parents and teachers alike in problems connected with reading and writing. As a result of the project, a guide will also be made available in the field of reading and writing. The collaborating schools will be informed of the results of the project, and a final seminar will be organised for the target groups and interested parties. Some of the results of the project are to develop thematically related in-service and basic training for teachers and to offer recommendations.