JUST READ CAMPAIGN STATEMENT
The objective of the Just Read Campaign is for every child in the UK to become a reader. This campaign is not about making children functionally literate. It goes beyond that. All the research shows that the child that reads for pleasure is more likely to achieve. Unfortunately, both the government’s own statistics and international research show that reading standards are not improving in the UK and that enjoyment of reading is declining.
Not every child comes from a reading home. Sometimes, these children are denied the cognitive, social and cultural advantages that reading for pleasure provides because their schools do not have a reading culture either.
These children are doubly let down.
There are many schools where the expectation that everyone reads is well established. Recent UKLA research shows that where teachers and schools have a sound knowledge of children’s books and how to use them to support children’s development as readers, standards rise and the level of enjoyment increases. Many teacher education establishments as well as organisations, government funded and others, are recording and disseminating good and effective practice. (For example, the National Literacy Trust’s Reading Connects, the National Association for the Teaching of English, the School Library Group, the School Library Association, the Youth Library Group, BookTrust, United Kingdom Literacy Association, ReadingZone.com, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education).
With this in mind we urge the government to ensure the following:
- That all schools acknowledge in their reading policies the role that children’s books and reading for pleasure have in the development of children as readers and achievers.
- That all teachers are aware that their knowledge of children’s books and their encouragement of reading for pleasure are vital in children’s development as readers. All children need access to knowledgeable adults who can support them in becoming readers.
- That all initial teacher education (primary and secondary) includes a compulsory module on the role of children’s books and reading for pleasure in the teaching of reading.
Of course, by ‘books’ we mean both traditional printed and digital formats. But whatever the format, all schools should provide children with stimulating and quality texts.