A recent study shows that one in five children growing up in Scotland is unable to read well by the time they finish primary school. The study attributes this dismal finding to Scotland’s “persistent education divide.”
The Read On, Get On campaign noted that by age five most children should be able to speak in full sentences and use most of the everyday words adults use. They should also be asking lots of “why?” questions as they try to understand the world around them.
However, in practice, “children from the most deprived areas are twice as likely to experience difficulties in language development before they start school. At age three, a third of children identified as having speech, language, or communication concerns are from the most deprived areas.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy found that reading standards in elementary schools have fallen since 2012.
The Read On, Get On campaign proposes to improve literacy amongst this group by focusing on four priorities leading to the ultimate goal of having all children reading well by age 11:
- Celebrating the importance and enjoyment of reading.
- Prioritizing the development of communication skills in the early years of a child’s life.
- Providing the right support to help every child learn to read well at school.
- Supporting families to help get their kids reading in the home.
It’s interesting to note that Scotland is actually one of the most “unfair” countries in the developed world, according to the report. Educational inequality and the randomness of the family into which a child is born tend to have a greater effect on what that child can do with their life and schooling, leading to even greater achievement gap issues that what’s seen elsewhere.
Still, the Read On, Get On campaign is hoping that, by promoting the four tenants of their program in schools and homes throughout the country, they can push for higher literacy levels and greater enjoyment of reading amongst Scottish children.