Supporting the 'Read on. Get on.' campaign to improve children's literacy

Posted by Guest blogger / Monday 08 September 2014 / Early intervention Literacy

Action for Children is supporting the 'Read on. Get on.' campaign to get all children reading well by the age of 11. Reading is the key to unlocking any child's future potential and, for our poorest kids, it's one of the best routes out of poverty.
Virginia Beardshaw, the Chief Executive of children's communication charity I CAN, tells us more about the campaign...

Today I CAN is proud to join Save the Children, the National Literacy Trust, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), Teach First, Achievement for All, and other partners, as a founder member of the Read On. Get On. campaign.

Together, our mission is to ensure that, by 2025, every 11 year old reads well. To achieve this, we are working to an interim goal of ensuring that all children achieve good early language development by the age of five by 2020.

Language is the rock on which reading rests. Poor language impacts on reading performance – children need to have good oral language skills as a foundation for literacy.

But by age three there is a clear correlation between family income and the vital language development that underpins reading. And new research for the Coalition from Newcastle University shows that by age 11 children from the poorest familiesare on average 19 months behind their better off peers.

Language development in the early years predicts educational achievement through to school leaving age. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds often have poorer language skills, starting school from a lower point than children from better off backgrounds. This puts them at risk of literacy difficulties.

Every year 130,000 children, including 40% of those from poorer backgrounds, leave primary school not reading as well as they should – problems that are, much more often than not, related to poor language skills.

This means over the next decade almost 1.5 million children will start secondary school alreadybehind at school.

The consequences for them are dismal. In the UK there is a pernicious link between low pay, unemployment and poor literacy.

That’s why I CAN is a founder member of the Read On. Get On.Coalition. Together we are out to make sure that children born this year, and every year that follows, have the language and literacy skills they need to thrive and, in time, become parents who encourage their own children to read.

For further information, visit

The Read On. Get On. coalition report is available at

(Blog originally posted on I CAN's website)

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