Born to Read: help make sure a love of reading is offered to every child

GG loves to read. She loves to read so much that it has frequently got her into trouble; sneaking illicitly indoors at break time to hide in the library; disappearing on play-dates to raid her companion’s bookshelf; and countless fairy-light reading episodes where she has been threatened with blindness to make her consent to sleeping. I took these video clips over the course of 24 hours last week:

Born to read

It is fair to say that life would be miserable for my daughter if she couldn’t read. Life would be a lot less pleasant for her family too, as we attempted to keep her energetic mind busy all day, and wind it down before bedtime. So I am nonplussed about how on earth families cope, when when their children cannot read.

Save the Children have today released Too Young to Fail, a report which claims that children who have below average reading skills at the age of 7 are significantly less likely to achieve 5 good GCSE grades at 16, affecting their life outcomes dramatically. Unsurprisingly it is the UK’s poorest children who are most likely to fall into this category. With families spending all their time working to earn enough to survive, or unable to afford a home full of books for their children, schools just don’t have the resource to enrich these children’s reading experiences enough to compensate.

Save the Children want to change the focus put on nurturing this basic educational skill to help not only the children concerned, but the UK economy through the future earnings potential of all our children. The need to act is put into sharp relief when you read these facts:

  • Last year 1 in 4 children left primary schools without the basic reading and writing skills needed to continue a successful education.
  • By the age of 7 nearly 80% of the difference between the GCSE results of poor and rich children is already established.
  • The first 2 years at school are key in levelling out this difference in reading achievment.
  • Fewer than one in six children from low-income families who have fallen behind by the age of seven will go on to achieve five good GCSEs, including English and maths.

So through no fault of their own, children as young as seven are on course for poorer life chance before they have even started. Save the Children want to change this outcome. Today they launch Born to Read, in partnership with Beanstalk, a programme which will see thousands of volunteers reading with 23,000 children in primary schools, to help foster a love of reading that will change lives. They are also expanding their hugely successful FAST parenting programme to help more families in deprived areas change outcomes for their children.

How you can help change the story:

By signing up to be a ‘change maker’, you can help change the story for these children, and for our society as a whole. Depending on your time and what kind of support you feel best equipped to give you could –

  • Volunteer – by reading in local schools with children who are struggling, to help them catch up.
  • Campaign – help Save the Children to gain commitments from all political parties before the 2015 election to back this initiative and improve educational support for under-achieving children.
  • Fundraising – help with ongoing initiatives to fund this change for our children, and for the future of the UK economy.

Please join me and sign up to be a change maker so that one day all children can feel like this:

If you blog, or have a Facebook account, you can also help by posting a photo of  your child with a favourite book? Use the #EducationMatters on Twitter, or tag Save the Children UK on Facebook in your post so they can share your support. Or use the sharing buttons below to share this post with friends and family on Facebook or email. The more people who see this post, the more chance we have of signing up change makers and changing our futures.

Thank you…

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