From the National Literacy Trust website (www.literacytrust.org.uk)
Taken from an Independent commission on social mobility published in May 2008
In 2002, OECD research stated that reading for pleasure was a more important indicator of future success than any socio-economic factors.
Employers in Britain are concerned that too many potential employees do not have the requisite literacy skills to carry out their jobs. The Leitch Review of Skills pointed towards a dangerous short fall in skills in Britain, stating that the problem needed to be addressed immediately if Britain was to stay competitive in the world economy.
Various schemes effectively demonstrate that the earlier intervention into a child’s literacy difficulties begins the more dramatic and long lasting the effect.
The NLT initiative Reading Connects encourages schools to promote a whole school approach to reading for pleasure in their policies, vision and good practice, including: reading for pleasure; involving all members of staff; and partnerships with families and the community. This approach advances understanding that literacy is not simply an activity for English lessons, it pervades all aspects of school life and is important to everyone.
Children only spend 15% of their time at school, so a holistic approach to literacy involving the community and the children’s families is critical. Research shows that parental involvement in children’s learning positively affects the child’s performance at school, both at primary and secondary level. Numerous studies have shown that children who grow up in a stimulating home environment – one which has a strong emphasis on learning – do better academically, regardless of socio-economic background. However, parents aren’t always aware of the important role they play in their child’s education. Simple interactions such as being read to, as well as exposure to books, magazines, newspapers and environmental print, all impact on children’s progress in learning to read. Furthermore, there is ample evidence to suggest that parents who promote reading as a valuable and worthwhile activity have children who are motivated to read for pleasure.