A massive 92 per cent of parents believed teachers to be too focused on targets and dealing with other pressures to focus on handwriting. And whereas 20 years ago parents spent three and half hours writing during school, teachers admitted to only spending two and a half hours each day on handwriting tasks.
A quarter KNEW they didn’t spend as much time as they should teaching handwriting skills and two thirds of parents don’t think enough is done to ensure a proper standard of writing.
Over half of parents believe the decline in children’s handwriting standards is a reflection of the decline in children’s discipline and behaviour. The Stabilo‘s ‘move easy’ is an ergonomically designed pen, available in both right and left-handed versions, which has been praised by teachers, approved by parents and loved by children. The pen is specially designed to assist a relaxed hold whilst writing, preventing muscle fatigue – resulting in easy, comfortable and tidy handwriting.
3.8 million children in
UK do not own a book A new National Literacy Trust report has revealed that the number of children who do not own a book is increasing. Seven years ago 1 child in 10 did not have a book of their own while today the figure stands at a startling 1 child in 3.
The decline in children’s book ownership is of particular concern as the report shows that the number of books in the home is directly linked to children’s reading levels. National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas believes that we owe it to our children to give them the best possible start in life. He said: “Our research found that the number of children who do not own a book has increased from 1 in 10 to 1 in 3 in the past seven years. This is of particular concern as we know there is a direct correlation between book ownership and children’s reading abilities.”
With 1 in 6 in the UK struggling with literacy it is very worrying that many children could be missing out on opportunities to develop these essential skills.
In August last year, National Literacy Trust research of 18,141 children also revealed a polarised nation of young readers with one in six reporting that they don’t read a single book in a month, while one in 10 say they read more than 10 books in a month.
This divide between the “reads” and the “read-nots” is concerning because the research shows reading frequency has a direct link to attainment, as eight in 10 children who read over 10 books a month are above average readers compared with just three in 10 of those who rarely read. Fresh approaches are urgently needed to encourage young people to read more, says the Trust. However, the number of children who never read a book suggests the
government has a huge challenge on its hands if Michael Gove’s “50 books a year” initiative is to reach every child.
The research also found that: • 77% of children who read for longer than an hour at a time are above average readers, while just 4% who read for over an hour are below the level expected of them.
• Only 30% of children who read for up to 10 minutes at a time are above average readers, with 20% below the expected reading level for their age.
• Text messages are the most popular thing for children to read outside of class with 60% saying they read texts outside of class at least once a month.
• Children who read text messages but not fiction books are twice as likely to be below average readers compared to those who also read fiction (10% versus 5%). National Literacy Trust Director, Jonathan Douglas, says: “Our new research shows that one in six children don’t read a book in a month, and we are worried that they will grow up to be the one in six adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an eleven- year-old, or below. Getting these children reading and helping them to love reading is the way to turn their lives around and give them new opportunities and aspirations.”
Two-thirds ‘fail new primary
phonics reading check’ The test-run of a new primary school reading check suggests two-thirds of pupils are likely to fail it when it is introduced in England next year.
Government statistics show just 32% of the six-year-olds in 300 schools who took the test last summer passed it. The test is controversial because it contains non-words as well as real words, explains the National Literacy Trust. This is to ensure that pupils are using synthetic phonics to decode words.
Most schools use phonic methods to teach children to read, but the Department for Education says only 27% uses phonics systematically.
Critics of the test say it is designed to check children’s progress in using a specific reading system rather than their reading itself.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We need to face up to the uncomfortable truth that, despite the hard work of teachers, not enough of our children are able to read to a high enough standard.
“We have to take account of our place internationally and listen to business leaders concerned about many school leavers’ literacy.”
He added that the levels primary school children are expected to reach should not be the limits of ambition, rather they should be considered the minimum expected.
‘Every Child A Reader’ - Opinion 9,000 fewer vulnerable children will receive one-to-one support to help them learn to read and write this year, a drop of 43% on last year, according to figures published by Labour last month. The news comes despite the fact that an analysis of the scheme by the Department of Education showed that the ‘Every Child a Reader’ programme, which includes ‘Reading Recovery’ support, has made a significant difference to the ability of children to read and write. Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary said: “These figures reveal the truth behind David Cameron’s warm words: this Government’s decisions have led to a near- halving of the number of vulnerable 5- and 6-year-olds receiving one-to-one reading support. Michael Gove removed the funding ring fence for Reading Recovery despite the fact it was shown in an independent evaluation, commissioned by the DfE, to support some of the most vulnerable children in England to read and write. “The Department of Education’s own analysis from May this year, said the scheme ‘had a positive impact on reading’.” Jayne Kennedy, Head Teacher of Barlow Hall Primary School in Manchester, which has benefited from the scheme said: “This programme made a real difference to vulnerable pupils who left with much higher reading and writing skills than they might otherwise have had. In today’s competitive world of work, these skills can be the difference between success and failure. We need to make sure that such successful schemes continue to provide high quality one-to- one reading support to pupils who need it most. We are worried that as budgets tighten, funding for this kind of critical specialist support will dry up.
“We have seen this beginning to happen as a result of uncertainty of the Government’s commitment to the scheme and the removal of ring fenced funding for Reading Recovery. The reduction in the number of teachers undertaking Reading Recovery nationally is of real concern.” Stephen Twigg MP continued: “Under Labour, more than 21,000 children aged five to six who were most at risk of falling behind got an intensive 20 weeks of support to help with reading and writing. This year, figures from the Institute of Education show the numbers dropping to 12,000 or fewer.
“The numbers of teachers training to deliver the programme has collapsed from just over 1,000 last year, to only 88 this year. It is no wonder given the uncertainty over funding facing schools.
“This Tory-led Government must protect funding for one- to-one reading support. It’s all very well David Cameron giving speeches on poor literacy, but the reality is the decisions of his government have caused a massive drop-off in the number of children getting the help they need to overcome this.
“The Government says this scheme works, and yet ministers are unwilling to commit to it, showing just how out of touch they are with what happens in the classroom. Instead of pursuing pet projects, Michael Gove should support an evidence-based approach to education.”
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