This week Save The Children launched a hugely important campaign Born To Read a programme in which volunteers go into school to read to children. By 2017, they intend to reach 23,000 disadvantaged children. Save The Children’s report into the reading attainment of 7 year olds makes for shocking reading (no pun intended). Too many children are falling behind with basic Literacy skills in their early years at school and then never ever catching up.
My children have been surrounded by books from a very early age. Having two teachers as parents, I suppose this was inevitable. They have not all found reading easy though. My youngest daughter was an extremely reluctant reader. She just wasn’t interested in picking up a book. She preferred computers. She could read from the screen – typed amazingly well for a six year old, but books – she just didn’t want to know. I was really starting to be concerned, when one day she came across a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She sat and struggled and persisted in reading that book to me out loud – it took her a week. She was home educated for nearly two years and this reluctance to read was a heavy weight on my shoulders. I intended for her to go back into mainstream schooling and didn’t want her to struggle. My relief when she reading finally clicked for her was immense.
Other children aren’t so lucky. They may not even have a book in their homes, other than ones which come home from school. Save the Children’s campaign is vitally important. They are trying to recruit 7,000 more reading helpers for 23,000 pupils in schools in deprived areas across the country, working in partnership with Beanstalk – an organisation that has more than 40 years’ experience in helping children learn to read. Their parallel initiative to help support parents in helping their children to read at home is also essential. We cannot let the life chances of these children slip away.
How can you help?
As Save the Children say on their website:
Together we can turn this around
Together we can break the vicious cycle that keeps people poor – generation after generation.
You can help today by donating to fund Born to Read.
In the months ahead we’ll also be looking for volunteers to help children in their local community. Sign up as a change maker and they will be in touch.