Programme 'helped child literacy'


An after-school programme trialed in six schools in west Dublin helped improve childhood literacy and reduced problem behaviours in school, a report suggests.

The three-year ‘Doodle Den’ research programme in west Tallaght improved word recognition, sentence structure and word choice among the children who took part.

Tallaght-based Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) ran the service for seven groups of 15 senior infants in three 90-minute sessions each week from 2008 to 2011.

It also included six parent sessions and three family sessions per year.

Some 464 children, 472 teachers and 197 parents participated in the trial over three years and it was independently evaluated by the Centre for Effective Education at Queen’s University Belfast, the CDI said.

The cost of the programme for 15 children for one year was €25,262.

CDI chief executive Marian Quinn said given the “clear results” of the evaluation, Doodle Den should become part of "a menu of evidence-based after-school programmes for children across Ireland, particularly in disadvantaged areas".

“Doodle Den offers a real opportunity to give children a good start in life. Literacy is a core life skill, without which later chances of full employment, and active citizenship are greatly reduced,” she said.

The programme has been extended in Tallaght for a further year and expanded to three new schools in Limerick. A total of 140 children will benefit from the programme over the coming year.