We all know reading is important. But it was truly shocking to read today of the impact that poor literacy has on children. This is not just an economic and social issue – it is a vital health issue. Research out today shows that life expectancy is 26 years shorter for children growing up in areas with the most serious literacy problems.
The government of course is doing nothing to tackle this, instead driving families further into poverty with their cuts to benefits, and lack of support for parents to find good, meaningful work.
Only yesterday I was talking with the mum of my son’s friend about how schools across Reading are finding it hard to afford the basics, and even asking parents to pay for supplies. Sure we can do little things to help – my small business made our Christmas donation to wonderful local charity ABC to Read and I’m asking around at the moment for raffle prizes for Whitley charity ASPIRE2 but what parents can’t do is tackle the chronic underfunding of education and lack of support of parents from this government.
As a mum, I truly value the time I spend listening to my children read and also their bedtime stories, whether it is Stig of the Dump or Harry Potter. but if I wasn’t confident in my literacy my ability to show my children the benefits of reading would be truly stiffled.
At a time when literacy is more important than ever before leaving children behind in this way will be the Tory legacy for years to come. It’s time for change.