Current reading measures ‘failing’ children, charities warn

Current measures to assess children’s reading ability are failing to take into account the whole range of activities that define whether a child is reading well, according to leading charities.

The Read On. Get On campaign, a coalition of charities including Save the Children and the National Literacy Trust, has announced it will create a ‘new, consistent measurement of children’s reading in primary schools’, which will take into account a wider range of skills and give a more accurate picture of a child’s ability.

A key part of this will include a measure of a child’s motivation, enjoyment and engagement with reading, as the Read On. Get On campaign believes that encouraging children to read for pleasure must play a vital role in helping them to develop reading and writing skills.

The charities claim that pupils who enjoy reading ‘very much’ are three times as likely to read above the level expected of their age and, whilst the national curriculum requires schools to support children’s enjoyment of reading, this is not accurately reflected in current assessments.

The campaign is supported by Malorie Blackman, children’s author and former children’s laureate, who said: “I believe we must do everything we can to encourage children to read for pleasure, which is why I’m backing the new Read On. Get On. strategy to get all our children reading. The benefits of reading for enjoyment are boundless for children; not only can it help to improve vocabularies and fuel imaginations, but it can also help children to do well at school in all areas and give them the building blocks to succeed in life. With a wide range of stories and reading materials now available to children, we must value all forms of reading and encourage children to read whatever takes their fancy.”

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