I’m a bookworm. I love books. Proper books with real pages you can turn over in your hands. Pages you can write on, turn over at the corner. Words you can underline. Margins you can scribble in.
I love book shops. Proper book shops full of titles you didn’t know existed. Bookshops with sections that remind you of school, of revision, of exams. Bookshops with sofas where you can sit and relax and soak in the atmosphere. Bookshops that offer a gateway to a world of books, a world of opportunity.
I love books because I love learning, and investigating and taking myself off to a different world. And I love books because they offer hope and knowledge and opportunity. The chance to learn, develop and grow. To change, to gain skills, to follow your dreams.
I hope I’ve passed that passion for reading on to my daughter. I hope she does continue to make time for reading in this multiscreen world we live in. I read to her every night for nine years. For the last year I’ve been relying on her reading to herself. She’s slowly developing her own love of books.
But imagine if you didn’t have the opportunity to read. If books weren’t shared with you or read to you. Imagine what you would miss out on. Imagine how your life chances would be compromised. How you’d struggle in a world full of words.
Save the Children have identified that by 2020 up to one in five children risk not being able to read properly by the age of seven. Their life chances are reduced and they fall behind at school, never to catch up with their peers. They never reach their full potential.
Key findings of their ‘Too Young To Fail’ report include:
- Many poor children in the UK today start school already behind their better-off peers – through no fault of their own.
- Last year, 1 in 4 poor children left primary school without basic skills in reading and writing.
- By the time they are seven, nearly 80% of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determine.
- The first two years a child is at school is a crucial window during which to close the attainment gap. Reading is one of the keys to unlocking a child’s potential.
- If they don’t get the help they need before they leave primary school, another generation of children will face lifelong penalties for being born poor.
Save the Children have just announced their nationwide Born to Read programme in partnership with Beanstalk. The aim is to get 23,000 children across the UK reading in the next four years, with the help of 20,000 ‘change makers’ offering encouragement and support.
How you can help
Visit Save the Children’s website and find out more about becoming a changemaker today.
Become part of the story by tweeting, sharing and following: #EducationMatters. @savechildrenUK. @saveUKNews.
Spread the word, share this post, raise awareness. You’ll find posts similar to this over on Thinly Spread.
Together we can make sure every child in the UK is born with a chance.