Why are we needed?
Around a quarter of all children left primary school last year unable to read well. These children are at a disadvantage because they are unable to access their secondary education properly, and this has lifelong consequences.
Good literacy at an early age improves academic achievement and this leads to greater opportunities of all kinds in adulthood. Unfortunately the statistics on UK reading ability are stark:
- One in four children left primary school in 2022 unable to read to the required standard. School closures caused by the Covid crisis will almost certainly have made this statistic worse.
-Only around half (51%) of disadvantaged pupils reached the expected standard of reading at Key stage 1.
- Children who read for pleasure at the age of 11 are far more likely to go on to have a positive experience of school and have much improved life chances.
- The National Literacy Trust estimated that in 2021, there were 7.1 million functionally illiterate adults in the United Kingdom, who will likely have difficulty reading the front page of a broadsheet newspaper, understanding the instructions on a medicine bottle, sitting a theory test for a driver’s licence, or succeeding in writing a job application.
Research suggests that there could be a strong link between raising levels of childhood literacy and lowering the risk of offending.
- Nearly half (48%) of young offenders have a reading age below that of an 11-year-old whilst 40% of those in prison have poor reading skills.
-Sadly 57% of people entering the prison system have literacy skills lower than those expected of an 11-year-old.
1. National curriculum assessments at Key Stage 2 in England, 2022, www.gov.uk, updated 15th December 2022, Department for Education
2. KS1 phonics screening check attainment, www.Gov.uk, October 2022
3. 'Mental wellbeing, reading and writing' Report from The Literacy Trust, October 2018
4 . Adult Literacy (2021), The National Literacy Trust.
6. Prison education: a review of reading education in prisons (2022)