Tuesday 16 January 2018

Literacy group assisting disadvantaged schoolchildren in Dublin's north inner city

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A literacy group aimed towards improving the reading skills of children in disadvantaged areas is just one of the recipients of the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards.

Smithfield-based Share Reading was founded in 2013 by Maura McMahon to combat the reading difficulties of young schoolchildren in Dublin's north inner city.

Supported by a dedicated team of volunteers, in partnership with Belvedere College’s fifth year students, Share offers specialised 1:1 tutoring programmes in school and more recently a morning Bookfest programme which provides children with a healthy breakfast over vocabulary games.

Managing director Ms McMahon told independent.ie that many children in disadvantaged areas have a serious vocabulary deficit by the time they are eight years old.

She has taught in Canada, Ireland and China - and is a member of the Teaching Council and International Reading Association.

"In my professional opinion, we need to reach these children before the age of eight," Ms McMahon said.

"We hope to gain traction with our group - assisted by funds such as winning the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards - and hopefully move to other areas in the country such as Limerick and Cork."

Since 2014, some 1,800 voluntary groups such as Share have benefitted from grants of €1,000, €2,000 and €5,000 from the Community Spirit Awards to further grow services in their locality.

Meanwhile, Dublin Bus is getting ready to celebrate the one millionth download of its popular mobile app which gives its users real time access to bus schedules.

The app - which can also calculate a fare and view stops and routes - can be downloaded free from the iTunes App Store or the Google Play Store.

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