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Porto cultivates reading habits in preschool and primary school students
12-07-2019

There is a pilot-project that is already a success regarding the Reading and Writing Training in the schools of the municipal public network of Porto. The project was jointly established by Porto City Hall, Porto Polytechnic Institute and the Ministry of Education of Portugal in September 2015.


The project involved circa 700 children that attend preschool and primary school in the state and municipal public network in Porto and the results of the Centre for research and intervention in Reading (CiiL) were presented on 11 July, at ISEP- Institute of Engineering of the Porto Polytechnic Institute.

"Both for preschool and primary school students, children included in the CiiL intervention delivered proven performance improvements given the substantial difference between the "control-group", i.e., children attending the same grade levels and similar traits but with no CiiL intervention" revealed Ana Sucena, the Technical and Scientific Coordinator of the project, during the first conference promoted by the Centre for research and intervention in Reading (CiiL), which took place at the Grand Auditorium of ISEP.

Councillor for Education of Porto City Hall, Fernando Paulo attended the opening ceremony and affirmed that "this project has a very clear goal and a well-defined results indicator, namely to cover 4.700 students till 2020 and to achieve a 12% reduction in the number of students with negative grades, as well as a 30% decrease in the retention/dropout rate for basic education".

This project has been in place for four years now and does the follow-up of 773 students, at present, including 538 in pre-school education and 235 in primary school, and it has become increasingly relevant in terms of institucional cooperation.

"This is a great example of networking, which the Municipality of Porto values and promotes", enthused Councillor for Education.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the benefits of reading for kids and teens start in the brain as early as infancy. In a study they conducted in 2014, it was discovered that "reading exerts a positive effect on the developing brain" of children - even for those little ones who can't read yet.  In Porto, "Multidisciplinary teams made up by education and health professionals of Porto, work with children aged 5 years, in the areas of phonemic awareness and language", explained Ana Sucena quoted by Lusa.

"The second stage of this pilot-project relates to the phonemic awareness and the link font/sound, i.e., the foundations of what enables us to read a word singly".
The success of the initiative in Porto led all the participants to ponder the establishment of a CiiL network, so as to extend this type of intervention to the early promotion of learning in the entire national territory.

Ana Sucena told "Porto." that participants were most enthusiastic in establishing such a network".

Currently, the CiiL projects develop within the framework of a co-financed application to the Integrated and Innovative Plans to fight the lack of success in school (PIICIE), the POR NORTE 2020, and it includes all the schools in the municipal public network of Porto.