Act early to rescue reading

28th October 2005 at 01:00
It is frustrating to see a TES letter ("Will we be scapegoats in Rose reading inquiry", TES October 14) repeat the view of the popular press that the Rose review has to tackle the "20 per cent" leaving primary school unable to read. In fact most of these are at level 3 - defined as "able to read a range of texts fluently and accurately".

The children we should be more worried about are those who fail to achieve even level 3 in English at the end of KS2: 7 per cent of the Y6 cohort in every year between 1998 and 2004, and one in ten boys in reading. These are the children most at risk of truancy and exclusion and, later in life, prison.

We can do something about these children. The Reading Recovery programme, for example, enables the lowest achievers in Year 1 to catch up with their peers. Fifty-one per cent of children who take it go on to achieve Level 4 or above at the end of KS2, with no further help.

Every Child A Reader is a three-year campaign aiming to show what can be done for these vulnerable children, and argues for early investment in children who will otherwise cost the system so much,

Jean Gross

Director, Every Child A Reader,

KPMG Foundation

8 Salisbury Square, London EC4

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