Language is the rock on which reading rests. Reading unlocks a child’s potential and opens up a world filled with possibilities.
As the children’s communication charity, we joined the Read On. Get On. campaign as a founding member alongside Achievement for All, Beanstalk, Booktrust, Centre Forum, Harper Collins, NAHT, National Literacy Trust, The Publishers Association, The Reading Agency, Save the Children and Teach First.
40% of children living in poverty leave primary school behind in reading. New data analysis by Newcastle University highlights an alarming gap of almost a year and a half in between the language skills of children from the best-off and poorest families by the age of three.
If we don’t act now, over the next decade 1.5 million children will have left primary school unable to read well.
The coalition is working towards an interim goal of ensuring all children achieve good early language development by the age of five by 2020.
The campaign’s latest policy report sets out what the next Government needs to do to make this goal achievable. This includes recommendations which make a combined case for investment in and focus on the ability of the early years workforce and early years settings to achieve better outcomes for the youngest children which are essential if they are to have achieved the good language development they need at age 5 in order to be reading well at age 11:
- Recommendation 1: Ensure an early years graduate leads early education in every nursery by 2020, prioritising those serving disadvantaged children
- Recommendation 2: Ensure at least one non-graduate member of staff in every nursery with an intermediate-level qualification in young children’s speech, language and communication
- Recommendation 3: Introduce workforce improvements paid for through an ‘enhanced’ early years pupil premium for nurseries with an early years graduate