Literacy engagement with young offenders

Anspear and Unitas, a UK-based young people’s charity, began a collaborative project in July 2009 to improve reading skills and to promote broader engagement with literature amongst young offenders. Mobile phones were loaded with a selection of poems in text, audio and visual formats and provided to 30 young offenders at three of Unitas’s Summer Arts Colleges across the UK.

As part of the resources for the phones, the young people were prompted to give their views in short, text-based questionnaires. Individual submissions were collected on a central Web server and displayed on a password-protected Web site, which was made available to course tutors. This system proved valuable both as an interactive learning forum and as a means of monitoring the young people’s progress and engagement with the material.

Following a successful evaluation of the projects, Anspear will be supporting Unitas’s nationwide reader engagement programme TextNow.

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