We have joined forces with the Booktrust and the National Literacy Trust in the fight to boost literacy levels among Britain's children. At a joint summit on 19 July 2012, championed by writer and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen, they called on schools to support their pupils to become enthusiastic readers in order to create a more literate generation.
A wealth of research shows the crucial significance of children reading independently and for enjoyment. It has even been shown to be more important for children's educational success than their family's socio-economic status (OECD, 2002), while National Literacy Trust research in 2011 found that young people who enjoy reading very much are more likely to read above the expected level for their age.
However, despite new Government and Ofsted recommendations for schools to focus on reading for enjoyment, a new survey commissioned by Booktrust shows that just over one third of Britain's schools (39%) have a policy in this area.
Viv Bird of Booktrust, Jonathan Douglas of the National Literacy Trust, and Miranda McKearney of The Reading Agency, issued the following joint statement:
"We are united in our belief that encouraging children to read for enjoyment is a crucial component in the drive to meet the UK's huge literacy challenge. The schools minister, Nick Gibb, says that Britain's children still lag a year behind their counterparts in Europe. With literacy skills becoming more and more important for our economic success, the time for action is now.
"We welcome the increasing recognition of the importance of reading for enjoyment in Ofsted's Moving English Forward report and the Government's draft curriculum for primary schools, and will be working together to provide practical and inspiring support to help respond to this increased focus."
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