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Supporting children's development
Supporting children's development

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2 Moving from the early years to primary

The Welsh Government has emphasised that raising literacy standards is one of its main priorities. The ‘Ready to Read’ report highlighted that Wales' poorest children are already struggling with language skills when they start primary school.

Activity _unit3.2.1 Activity 3

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Read the adapted extract below from the TES (Times Educational Supplement) online about the ‘reading gap’ in primary schools and then answer the questions that follow.

Campaign to end ‘shameful’ reading gap in primary schools

Figure _unit3.2.1 Figure 2 Child reading a book

Around 1.5 million children will leave primary school struggling to read by 2025 unless urgent action is taken, according to new research published today by a campaign group set up to eradicate illiteracy.

The research suggests the UK economy could be £32bn worse off without action being taken to ensure 11-year-olds leave primary school as more competent readers. 

The UK economy could be £32bn worse off without action being taken to ensure that 11-year-olds leave primary school as more competent readers. 

One in four children growing up in poverty leaves primary school unable to read well.

‘In Britain, primary education for children has been compulsory for at least the last 150 years,’ said Dame Julia Cleverdon, chair of the Read On Get On campaign.

‘Yet to our shame, thousands of children leave primary school each year unable to read well enough to enjoy reading and to do it for pleasure, despite the best efforts of teachers around the country.’

(Ward, 2014)
  • What do you think is meant by ‘the reading gap’?
  • Why do you think the UK is so far down the international league tables?
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Discussion

From the TES extract you have just read, it appears that the ‘reading gap’ is linked to the inequalities in society. The reasons for this are complicated, but may include factors such as:

  • limited access to books in the family
  • parents not having the time or resources to read to children.

If we are aware that there is a problem, we can work together to tackle the challenge.

This means parents, teaching assistants, teachers and all other support staff working together and sharing their expertise – in other words, you.

Two examples of positive action together are:

  • The Read On Get On campaign [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , which aims to ensure that every child born today will read well by the age of 11 in 2025 and in which teaching assistants have a key role to play.
  • A blog set up by a mum living in the USA, who shares her interest and expertise as a parent of a young child.