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Children’s Book Week

05 Oct 2011

Children’s Book Week, between 3 and 9 October, is a national celebration of reading for children of primary school age.

Research and evidence from Ofsted’s inspections show that the critical age when children learn to be good readers and writers is between three and seven. However, nationally, one in five children leaving primary school does not reach the standard expected for reading and writing.

We published a report in November 2010, which showcases the work of 12 outstanding schools in teaching virtually all children to read to the expected standard. This was regardless of their social and economic background, ethnicity, language spoken at home, special needs and disability. The report, Reading by six: how the best schools do it, found that determination from staff that every child will read; developing children’s speaking and listening skills; and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics helped the schools to achieve high reading standards.

Another Ofsted report, Excellence in English, published in May, featured some schools that were very effective in promoting reading. One primary school gave an especially high profile to reading for pleasure. Enthusiasm and recommendations from teachers, and well-stocked libraries with good-quality up-to-date texts helped to stimulate pupils, turning average readers into keen ones. Initiatives such as book clubs, competitions and events, and closer working with parents to support students’ reading, contributed to improved writing and better test results in the schools surveyed. They also made a significant difference to children’s enjoyment and achievement in English.

The reports are available on the Ofsted website.

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