Deutsche Bank - Supporting Write to Read to Improve Children's Literacy Outcomes

In 2012, Deutsche Bank staff decided to support a little known literacy research project with a big aim—to improve literacy outcomes for children in disadvantaged schools and communities in Ireland.

The project, Write to Read, was inspired by award winning doctoral research by Dr Eithne Kennedy from DCU’s Institute of Education. This research had demonstrated that intensive professional development for teachers, and investment in literacy resources to enable teachers to implement a holistic, evidence-based literacy framework could dramatically improve literacy outcomes for children in disadvantaged schools.

With support from Deutsche Bank, Write to Read has expanded to become a cross-city literacy project that currently works with 13 disadvantaged schools in Dublin city. Thanks to the matched fundraising efforts of Deutsche Bank staff, Write to Read has provided a wealth of high quality books to participating schools and teachers in those schools have transformed their approach to literacy with support from the project. Deutsche Bank has also enabled Write to Read to run poetry competitions and a Young Writers Academy to enable talented students to work with published authors to develop their storytelling abilities.

In this article, Ian Melia, Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff for Deutsche Bank Ireland discusses what motivates the company’s continued involvement with the project:

Deutsche Bank has been a longstanding supporter of Write to Read. What inspires you to support this project?

“Through their work providing high quality literacy support to disadvantaged children, Write to Read is changing the life outcomes of local pupils – helping level the playing field and allowing them to access opportunities that would otherwise be closed to them.

At Deutsche Bank we see it as hugely important that we support charities which can make a genuinely meaningful impact – this is clearly the case with Write to Read which helps improve children’s social mobility and develop their social, emotional and imaginative capacities.”

You recently welcomed over 30 children from a Write to Read partner school to Deutsche Bank’s offices. What does it mean to your staff to see how their support is helping children from some of Dublin’s most disadvantaged communities to develop as readers, writers and thinkers?

“Our staff get an enormous amount from this type of experience. It’s important that we remember how far children have to come just to access the things many of us take for granted. And for the children, we hope they benefit from getting to experience a new environment – maybe some of them will be able to imagine themselves working in a place like Deutsche Bank some day!

We also really enjoy that our support for the project has gone beyond simple financial support. From creating reading spaces in classrooms to designing bookmarks to encourage children and parents to read at home using Write to Read’s comprehension strategies, our team have really enjoyed contributing to the project in a meaningful way.”

By supporting children to develop as confident, engaged readers, writers and independent thinkers, Write to Read also aims to raise their expectations for themselves and their futures. What advice would you give to them about pursuing their dreams and ambitions?

“For all children, whatever their background, it’s important that we encourage them to dream big. Reading, and reading widely, helps all of us to imagine ourselves doing new and exciting things.”