Children’s literacy charity Beanstalk is supporting a new campaign aimed to get all Northamptonshire’s children reading well at the age of 11 by 2025.
In the county last year 1,300 pupils left primary school unable to read to the required level.
Called Read On. Get On., the new campaign is led by teachers, parents, businesses and other charities including Save the Children.
The group says 1.5m children across the country will reach the age of 11 unable to read well by 2025 unless urgent action is taken to tackle the reading crisis.
Beanstalk wants to recruit and train volunteers from the local community to go into primary schools to work with children who are falling behind with their reading.
The charity currently supports 400 children in more than 70 schools across Northamptonshire.
A Read On. Get On. report has found that disadvantaged children are the worst affected, with four in ten not reading well by the age of 11 – almost double the rate of their better-off peers. The report also found they are not reading enough outside school, or with their fathers.
Read On. Get On. aims to create a nation of strong readers by supporting parents to read with young children for ten minutes a day, urging the public to volunteer to help disadvantaged children improve their reading and building a powerful coalition of the county’s most influential public, private and charitable organisations to pledge to support the mission.
It is also urging all political parties to support the 2025 target.
Sue Porto, Beanstalk’s chief executive, said: “The one-to-one support offered by Beanstalk’s reading helpers plays a vital role in helping children to read well by age 11 and we are delighted to be a part of ‘Read On. Get On.”
Greg Yarnall, Beanstalk Area Manager for East Midlands, added: “It is truly shocking that so many children leave primary school unable to read confidently.
“We are urgently looking for more volunteer reading helpers to provide vital one-to-one support in local schools.
“We are currently looking for volunteers to work across the whole of Northamptonshire.
If you think you could give a child the gift of reading I would urge you to step forward to become a reading volunteer.”
To find out more, you can call the Northamptonshire Central Office on 01604 720969 or click here.