We all know how important literacy is to a child’s long term prospects, yet sadly many children don’t enjoy reading and writing and even those who do, often don’t reach their potential. The annual reading survey by the National Literacy Trust tends to show that about a quarter of children say that they will only read if they have to. We want to put that right by stimulating a deep enjoyment of literature.
Study after study has shown that children who become keen and fluent readers go on to succeed better – and not just in terms of school work, but in terms of all aspects of life. For instance:
High literacy levels are associated with better mental health and lower levels of drinking and smoking.
Highly literate individuals are more likely to be involved with their local communities, more likely to trust people within their communities, and are more likely to vote.
Highly literate individuals are more likely to live in a working household and are less likely to divorce.
(statements come from “Literacy Changes Lives” Dugdale + Clark 2008)
As a nation we are still not doing very well with literacy, and we have been steadily slipping down the OECD table of developed nations. In 2015 we came 23 rd of 24 developed nations. All the academic research points to the best long term results coming from early intervention before children are 7 years old. There has been a long term academic study of the Butterfly method Learning to Read, Reading to Learn: the benefits of Butterfly School Alister Wedderburn (The Educational Research Trust)* which proves its efficacy with all age groups but noted that the most dramatic successes came with those introduced to it at this younger age.
*this can be accessed via the website http://www.realaction.org.uk