We all know about the importance of reading to children from babyhood onwards, and most of us have tried our best to create a literary rich home for our little ones. Trips to the library become a staple part of childhood, with bedtime reading the natural end to many of our days and a wonderful way to install a love for books and storytelling. However, for many thousands of children in the UK this is sadly not the case and there are many disadvantaged parents who simply can’t make this happen for them, for a whole variety of reasons. This in turn leads to poor literacy levels and children leaving school with poor reading and writing abilities, disadvantaged for life. As a teacher and a parent this fills me with so much sadness. Surely there is something we could all do to help?
[My girls showing their current favourite books!]
Thankfully this week marks the launch of a fantastic new literacy-based initiative from UK based charity, Save the Children. Raising reading levels has become the centre of their brand new nationwide campaign.
This is what Save the Children have discovered, prior to launching their campaign:
- Many poor children in the UK today start school already behind their better-off peers – through no fault of their own.
- Last year, 1 in 4 poor children left primary school without basic skills in reading and writing.
- By the time they are seven, nearly 80% of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determined
- The first two years a child is at school is a crucial window during which to close the attainment gap. Reading is one of the keys to unlocking a child’s potential.
- If they don’t get the help they need before they leave primary school, another generation of children will face lifelong penalties for being born poor.
So, how can we all help?
Save the Children is aiming to build a community of helpers, ordinary parents like you and me, to help in a variety of easy ways, either truly hands on and involved or raising awareness and promoting the campaign. Here are a few ways to get involved: