Classic case of not reading enough

Classic case of not reading enough

With the advance of modern technology, social media and text speak is it any wonder that our young people are losing literacy and vocabulary skills?

Research from the Oxford University Press has revealed that a shocking 4 out of 10 children starting secondary school have such limited vocabulary it is harming their learning.

Modern life might be a key factor in this and that is why it is even more essential that primary schools take a leading role in ensuring this essential skill for life is not threatened any further.

Of course, it would be hoped parents would introduce their children to books and engage them in talking from the earliest of ages and before they go to school.

But it is also true that children are being introduced to technology at a much younger age and little ones as young as three are using tablets.

We can’t hold back the advances of time and technology but we should also cling to the bits of our past that have helped generations of children discover a love of reading and writing.

Schools can play a big part in this by having a compulsory, age-appropriate, reading list so it can ensure children are regularly reading and learning new words.

These lists, particularly as the children become more fluent in their reading, must include classics (old and modern) that have passed the test of time and captured the imaginations of generations of young people.

And when children have read the book their teachers should get them to write a review of it.

I recently wrote a blog about my recommended reading list of books I believe every child should read before they are 11.

Schools should also have a specific vocabulary and spelling programme that is set at national level. This will involve regular homework and the use of workbooks to improve levels.

Generalist approaches do not work – it has to be specific and detailed if the problem is to be addressed. It cannot be left to the whims and fancies of classroom teachers who may or may not encourage reading and engagement with books.

Speaking and reading are essential life skills.

If there are words you cannot understand it will affect your ability in all exams and will seriously impact your creative writing – which now has more emphasis in the new GCSE English papers.

But more than that, it will impact you for the rest of your life and your ability to get a good job.

Modern life isn’t rubbish but neither was the old. Classics are just that for a reason and reading them could make the difference between a child with an expressive vocabulary and one who will struggle to get by.