The Mirror is reporting that pupils sitting their GCSEs this summer are likely to have a reading age of just 13.
Professor Keith Topping, of Dundee University, found in the final year of primary school, pupils’ ages typically match their reading age.
But when they start secondary school they start falling behind and when they reach 16 their reading age is three years behind.
The research for Renaissance UK, an online education assessment provider, found the trend was reflected across the UK, but there were variations on a school-by-school basis.
Renaissance UK believes that the secondary school literacy challenge could be caused by the decreased emphasis placed on reading at ages 11-16.
And it is calling for secondary schools to consider building dedicated reading time into the curriculum to ensure that pupils do not fall behind.
Prof. Topping said:”The brain is a muscle that literacy skills help train. As it gets more toned, like all muscles, it needs more exercise.
“Currently, primary schools are exercising it more vigorously by reading more challenging books – we now need to replicate this in secondary schools. More discussions in between young people about books they are reading should be encouraged.
“I would also encourage all secondary teachers, not just English teachers, to look closely at their pupils’ literacy levels and remember – even the brightest students need to be stretched.”
Do you think we need to get children reading? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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