Friday, 12 September 2014

Read On. Get On.

Dear Graham

Reading is the key to a child’s future: it unlocks their potential and opens up a world filled with possibilities.
And yet, almost a quarter of children in the UK today are leaving primary school without reaching the expected level in reading and it is the poorest who are doing the worst. Over the next decade almost 1.5 million children will start secondary school already behind.

Today we’re launching Read On. Get On.  – a new campaign being driven by a coalition of charities, language and literacy experts, teachers, and businesses to get every child reading well  at age 11, by 2025.

Every child deserves a good education. Being able to read well is the foundation upon which that depends. 

We hope that Read On. Get On. will galvanise the nation, from children, to grandparents and authors, to give what they can – time, expertise, funds, or simply a passion for reading – to make the goal of all children reading well by age 11 a national priority.

David Blunkett, Labour Secretary of State for Education 1997-2001 said:
“I have worked all my career to help ensure all children have a fair chance in life, including ensuring no child falls behind in reading. I know personally how learning to read braille as a four year old opened up a window to the world for me – I often stayed up late reading under the bedclothes… It is a national tragedy that so many children are still struggling to read at the age of 11 and so I am happy to back the Read On. Get On. campaign.”

Alan Milburn, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Chair:
“Literacy and numeracy are the foundations on which success in school and in later life are built
 “Ensuring every child leaves primary school a good reader is crucial to creating a fair and socially mobile country and in breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty
 “The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission strongly welcomes the Read On. Get On. campaign and urges the whole of society to get behind it and to do their bit”

Coverage of the campaign today:
Matthew Taylor’s blog | Reading change differently

We hope that you will be able to join in our ambition to give every child a fair start in life. If you would like to share the report or help us promote the campaign, please consider the below sample tweets, using the hashtag #ReadonGeton:
Former Education SoS @DavidBlunkettMP: it’s a tragedy that so many children struggle to read at age 11 - I'm happy to back #ReadOnGetOn
Great to see support for #ReadOnGetOn from across the spectrum from Paddy Ashdown, to John Major to David Blunkett
Together, we can get every UK child reading well at age 11. Join us & @savechildrenuk: #ReadOnGetOn
40% of children living in poverty leave primary school unable to read well. We must change this. #ReadOnGetOn
Let’s help get children across the UK #ReadonGeton with @savechildrenuk. All children should be able to read well.
Politicians of all stripes coming together to endorse reading campaign today #ReadOnGetOn

Please find a copy of the report on our website. If you’d like to meet to discuss the campaign or any other ways you can get involved, please let me know.

With best wishes

Jamilla Hinds-Brough
Parliamentary and Advocacy Officer – UK
Save the Children, 1 St John's Lane, London EC1M 4AR                                                                     
Twitter: @JamillaAsha

Key stats:
If we don’t act now to get all children reading well, we are on track to leave close to 1.5 million children behind by 2025

Last year, 1 in 4 children were leaving primary education unable to read well at 11 each year: this number rises to 40% of children living in poverty unable to read well.

45 per cent of low income white British boys were not reading well by the age of 11.

The reading gap in England between boys and girls is one of the widest in the developed world: boys are twice as likely to fall below even a very basic reading level.

The only country in Europe with more unequal reading attainment amongst 10 year olds than England is Romania: the gap between the best and worst ten year old readers in England is broadly equivalent to seven years of schooling.

Struggling to read in England is more closely linked to low pay and the risk of being unemployed than in any other developed country including the US.

Around 1 in 4 people in England earning less than £10,000 were not functionally literate – this compared with fewer than 1 in 25 for those earning over £30,000.

73% of 8 to 11 year old girls said they enjoyed reading compared to 59% of boys.

If the UK had taken action to ensure that all children were reading well by the age of 11, GDP in 2014 could have been around an extra £13.8 billion: the equivalent to £500 for each household.

Fathers matter for young children: reading daily to a five year old means that child will be almost half a year ahead in their reading a few years later, than a child read to less than once a week.

Save the Children works in 120 countries. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential.

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