One third of students struggle with reading ability in class

Four in five teachers said that the parents of the children they teach find it difficult to encourage their children to read at home, according to a survey of primary and secondary school from across the UK commissioned by GL Assessment. 

Asked why they think it is so difficult, two-thirds of teachers blamed digital distractions, and a similar proportion said it’s because parents don’t read themselves. 

Half (53 per cent) of them said the parents are too busy, and two-fifths said that parents want to avoid an argument, or that they did not see the benefits of reading (42 per cent).
 
Teachers estimate that a third of children are weak readers and need additional help to keep up with the lessons they teach.

They also said on average, a quarter of students are taken out of class for 30 minutes or more each week to receive additional reading support, and that 2.5 hours of curriculum time weekly – which equates to approximately 16 days of the academic year – is lost.
 
The study of over 600 teachers, and the basis for the 'Turning the page' report, found there was little difference in attitude between primary and secondary or between English and non-English subject teachers.
 
Almost 87 per cent said they feel personally responsible for helping weak readers improve, although a similar proportion (84 per cent) also admitted that they have felt at a loss at times to know how to do so. 

Ninety per cent also said it would be useful to know which students in their class have been identified as struggling readers.

 Jonathan Douglas, chief executive at the National Literacy Trust, said: “Teachers play a vital role in children and young people’s lives and their impact can last a lifetime. 

"When children and young people enjoy reading, it can unlock endless possibilities for their future, laying the foundations for greater academic success, mental wellbeing and employment opportunities later in life. 

He said the current state of children and young people's reading paints a "troubling picture" and the challenge is being felt most in the classroom. 
 
"Helping teachers access the resources they need to be able to confidently teach reading and make reading a part of everyday school life will equip more children and young people with the reading and literacy skills they need for life,” he added. 

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