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BRIDGING THE SUMMER LEARNING GAP


for The Reading Agency © DaveWarren 2019


Reading for pleasure –


the Summer Reading Challen eg T


wenty years ago, Anne SarragMBE developed the Summer Reading Challenge to help tackle the ‘summer slide’, a decline in children’s reading ability over the long summer holidays. The first Summer Reading Challenge in 1999 was an instant success, with 440,000 children taking part in the first year. Since then, the Summer Reading Challenge has become one of the UK’s biggest children’s reading for pleasure programmes: children have taken part in the Challenge over 13 million times.Many children love the Challenge so much they take part year after year. In our firs t feature this month looking at bridging the summer learning gap, we hear from the organisers of the initiative to find out more.


What is the education gap?


The ‘summer slide’ sees disadvantaged students taking up to six weeks to re-learn skills in the following school year where their more


28 www.education-today.co.uk


advantaged counterparts maintain or improve on literacy and numeracy. The learning gap between the highest and low significant, with the around 8.5 years be We also know th


lowest 10%equivalent to est achievers in reading is


at students are less able to hind the highest 10%.


learn other curricula if they do not develop sufficient reading skills by the middle of primary school. By the final year of compulsory schooling in England, the reading skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds are on average almost three years behind those from the most affluent homes.


What’s reading got to do with it?


Research suggests that reading for pleasure is more important for children's cognitive development than their parents' level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.


July/Augus t 2019 y/


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