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REDEFINING READTWINNING DUE TO THE PANDEMIC
The ReadTwinning project, as indeed is happening to many others, is under going and will under go a series of changes due to the pandemic and there strictions due to it. COVID-19 has affected students, teachers and parents everywhere, revealing "the unpreparedness of education systems, infrastructure, educators and learners for distance learning, and the fragility of adult literacy programmes". To alleviate these difficulties, we have multiplied the intervention sand online exercises, both among partners and with in schools.
From a general point of view, the project has undergone a global delay. As a consequence of the pandemic, the ReadTwinning Consortium decided to extend the project to 36 months (from the previous31) in order to be able to plan some activities in presence, which were necessarily postponed due to Covid-19.
Therefore, lessons plans, the blended training course for "Connected Teachers", experimentation activities, the short-term exchange of groups of pupils in Romania, Portugal, Cyprus have been rescheduled and all the activities, including the completion of the platforms and toolkits will becompleted by 31 October 2022.
Transnational meetings originally planned have been replaced by a series of online meetings, among which the dissemination event PROMOTING THE LOVE FOR READING, which took place on the 4th of January 2021, was particularly relevant.The dissemination online event took place directly on the Facebook and YouTube pages of the project to present the project and its activities. Some experts coming from the different European countries attended. Mr. Giulio Blasi presented his work experience with the Media Library Online, the first and largest Italian digital library. Elena Perikleous, a head teacher from Cyprus, participated too. She is an Award-winning author, who delighted the participants with a reading moment to reiterate - if it should be necessary -the importance, the beauty and the extremely fundamental value of the art of storytelling.
It should be emphasized that the online appointment offered the possibility of contactinga certainly greater number than a live meeting could have obtained. In fact, the participants in the event totaled over 100.
The most critical situation is certainly that of schools. Apart from some variations during these months, the whole formal education system in the countries of th eproject partners found itself facing shorter or longer closures, alternating presence and absence of students andteachers, the need to reschedule activities. With schools' encouragement and support, in this situation we have favored the creation of small reading tandems involving children and their families, which were formed at home or at the school library when possible.
They were an effective starting point to raise awareness among parents and relatives about the importance of reading and to introduce them to the ReadTwinning project.
Teachers' role as reading mediators proved to be very important in setting up reading tandems within the domestic environment, especially when children come from families where reading is neither experienced nor practiced.