As a mum but also a teacher, I couldn't not get involved in spreading the word about Save The Children's latest campaign. They explain : "Too many children fail before they’ve even started in life. This is in large part because of an enduring ‘achievement gap’: the gap in outcomes between disadvantaged children (in this country measured by uptake of free school meals) and their better-off peers. What this gap means is that, by the time they are seven, nearly 80% of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determined. In other words, half way through primary school, many children’s educational – and, often, life – chances have been largely decided on grounds that are unfair."
Save the Children are asking all political parties to take measures to reduce this achievement gap, while proactively making advances themselves, launching Born to Read – a programme that helps primary school age children from deprived areas improve their reading skills. They also aim to recruit 20,000 ‘change makers’ over the next 4 years who will help reach children in their first chapters of life, giving them a better chance of fulfilling their potential.
Being a ‘change maker’ is a journey that will include a variety of actions that supporters can choose to take to help make a difference, including:
· Campaigning to get manifesto commitments from all political parties before 2015 to ensure that every child leaves primary school with a good education, including being a confident reader.
· Volunteering with Save the Children’s programmes, working face to face with children to help them to catch up if they are struggling with reading, grow in confidence and improve their chances of success in school.
· Fundraising to help expand Save The Children's programmes to reach more children in schools right across the UK, giving them a better start.
· Being the first to know about new projects, events and opportunities around Save The Children's UK work.
They have picked Tuesday 8th October, to coincide with Children’s Book Week, to launch their new campaign to change the story for the UK’s poorest children by joining forces with the Beanstalk charity.
As a teacher of 11-16 year olds, I still see pupils coming through our school who have huge difficulties reading and this seriously hinders their learning. If they can't read and understand the questions, they obviously can't get the right answers. We also seem to have more and more pupils being diagnosed as dyslexic. While this may be the case, there are so many of them (5 per class in both classes of 11-year-olds this year) that we're all starting to wonder if this isn't just masking underlying problems in this generation's literary skills.
Another huge problem is that kids have lost the taste for reading. At The Madhouse, we have books everywhere - each of the kids has an overflowing bookshelf in their rooms and there are extra bookshelves in my bedroom, in the passage and in the dining room !
As a parent, it's easy to encourage your children to practice their literary skills. If you're not big on reading yourself, there are other options available, such as online reading programmes, educational ipad apps and interactive books, as well as word games. Learning to read isn't just a vital life skill - it can also be great fun !
Let’s get children reading – it’s a path to a brighter future! Join @savechildrenuk http://bit.ly/1fOoyXa
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