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Masters graduate now looks to improve literacy in Ireland and UK

16 July 2013

2013 Graduate: Sinead, Speech and Language Therapy from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Since completing her MSc Speech and Language Therapy at the University of Essex in September 2012, Sinead Keane has created LiTFit, a holistic, evidence-based, literacy programme which aims to increase literacy skills in primary school children.

Sinead returned to the Colchester Campus for this year’s graduation ceremonies to celebrate with fellow graduates and staff.

A former Speech and Drama teacher from Ireland Sinead, merged her previous work experience with the knowledge she had learned at Essex.

The new programme she developed, called LiTFit, employs a metalinguistic approach to literacy and looks at grammar, phonology, semantics and narrative skills. LiTFit is an eight week course and is delivered to a whole class of children by a speech and language therapist. LiTFit involves The three step approach promoted by LiTFit is awareness-identify-use.

Awareness: the speech and language therapist directs the pupils’ attention to a subject.

Identify: the pupils are asked to identify the lesson aims for themselves, all definitions and learning are created by the pupils with guidance from the speech and language therapist.

Use: the pupils are then asked to put the skills they have just learned into practise. This mostly involves a drama activity such as reciting a piece of newly created prose, performing a recently created script and many other creative activities.

Sinead has just completed the first LiTFit pilot and while the results are in the process of being analysed they are looking promising.

Sinead and her employers, CATTS Ireland, have now formed a partnership to expand the LiTFit programme. Meanwhile, Trinity College Dublin is aware of LiTFit and is eager to be involved with researching various aspects of its approach.

A second pilot will be launched in September 2013; this will involve a larger sample size and will take place throughout Ireland. LiTFit is also looking to expand into the UK education system within the coming year.

“There’s too much work that needs to be done before I can get excited,” said Sinead. “I can’t believe I’ve got so far and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead. The support from Essex has been incredible. Teresa Eade, Penny Hodgkinson and Wayne Wilson have been overwhelmingly supportive; I can’t praise or thank them enough.”

For more information on LiTFit please go to: litfit.net

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