Why is literacy so important?

Today is ‘National Read A Book Day’ and it is ‘International Literacy Day’ on the 8th September. So, as we celebrate two literacy linked days this week, we thought we would look at why is literacy is so important.

“From the day our children are born, to the day they tell us to stop, we should read to them,” says Michael Rosen, children’s author. Developing good reading skills at a young age can build a love of learning, increase general knowledge, increase concentration spans, stimulate creativity and be fun. Research increasingly suggests the importance of language and literacy in preparing children to succeed in school, demonstrating strong links with academic achievement, higher exam grades and enhanced productivity in adult life.

In 2019, research carried out by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) suggested that the gap in educational attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers had begun to increase again. From 2007 to 2019, data indicated that the gap had continued to close but from 2019, disadvantaged pupils trailed by over 18 months of learning by the time they took their GCSEs, and this was all prior to the pandemic.  It is common knowledge that this gap has increased due to the pandemic with less supported disadvantaged pupils enduring a loss of learning more than their peers. However, the EPI has launched a new research project to examine how the pandemic has affected disadvantage gaps in education in England in more detail.

A brief reminder of the attainment gap per sector taken from EPI’s 2020 research, so the following does not include the effects of the pandemic:

  • secondary schools: for pupils about to take GCSEs, disadvantaged pupils are 18.1 months of learning behind their peers
  • primary schools: the gap between poorer pupils and their peers is 9.3 months.
  • early years: the gap has stagnated at 4.6 months

If you feel inspired to make a difference and want to be involved in a proven, evidence-based literacy programme or are looking for a programme in your primary school, then read on.

Operation Education Group has been working alongside the Fischer Family Trust and delivered a literacy programme to small groups of children from Years 1 to 4, in Primary Schools across the UK; it has been approved by the National Tutoring Programme.

The Lightning Squad Literacy programme is a blended approach with in-person tutoring supported by an online tutoring platform in the form of half-hour daily sessions working with 4 pupils at a time to improve reading skills, fluency, comprehension, spelling and phonics. Since it is an established evidence-based programme, course content is provided along with set-up, assessment and tutor to facilitate. The tutors are recruited, vetted and trained by experts in their field and will have a pre-requisite of teaching/ teaching support experience. If you are interested in becoming a tutor in these very fulfilling roles, check out our tutoring page.