Why are we needed?
We believe that all children should be able to read well at the age of eleven when they leave primary school. Armed with good literacy skills, they will be able to make the most of their secondary education, and can go on to have fulfilling adult lives, making positive contributions to their families, their communities and to society as a whole.
Good literacy at an early age can improve academic achievement and this often leads to greater opportunities of all kinds in adulthood. But the statistics on UK reading ability are stark:
- One in four children left primary school last year unable to read to the required standard.
- Children who are the most engaged with reading and writing are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged.
- Nearly one in six 15 year-olds in England does not have a minimum level of proficiency in literacy.
- Around one in six adults (that's 5.8 million people) in England and Northern Ireland score at the lowest level of proficiency in literacy. This means they are unable to read a medicine label, follow a timetable, or interpret simple written instructions.
Research suggests that there could be a strong link between raising levels of childhood literacy and lowering the risk of offending.
- Sadly nearly half of people entering the prison system have literacy skills lower than those expected of an 11-year-old.
- A quarter of young offenders have reading skills below those of the average 7-year-old.
1. National Curriculum Assessments: Key Stage 2, 2017 (interim), www.gov.uk, published 4/7/17 Department for Education
2. 'Mental wellbeing, reading and writing' Report from The Literacy Trust, October 2018
3. Department for Education (2013), Achievement of 15-Year-Olds in England: PISA 2012 National Report, p.66
4 . OECD (2013), England & Northern Ireland (UK), Country Note -Survey of Adult Skills first results p.65.
5. OLASS English and Maths assessments: participation 2014/15, (2015) based on 74,300 prisoners assessed on entering prison since August 2014