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Language is the rock on which reading rests. Reading unlocks a child's potential and opens up a world filled with possibilities.

As the children's communication charity, we joined the Read On. Get On. campaign as a founding member alongside Achievement for All, Beanstalk, Booktrust, Centre Forum, Harper Collins, NAHT, National Literacy Trust, The Association of Chief Librarians, The Publishers Association, The Reading Agency, Save the Children and Teach First.

The Read On. Get On. coalition has published a bold new strategy, which sets out how as a country we can ensure our children enjoy reading and leave primary school with the reading skills they need to succeed.

Research shows the substantial impact that poor reading skills have on social inequality and our economy. If not addressed the problem will cost us £32.1 billion by 2025, which equates to over £900 per household in 2020 and £1,200 in 2025.

The new reading strategy outlines ten steps to achieving the ambitious but achievable campaign target for 96% of children to read well by the age of 11 by 2025. It is built on the following key principles: getting children reading is a job for us all; the work starts at birth; the importance of enjoyment of reading; and the need to have the highest ambitions for all children.

Plans to create a consistent national measure of children’s reading are also outlined in the strategy, as variations in assessment data and gaps in effective measures mean like-for-like comparisons of children’s reading are currently impossible. While the National Curriculum requires schools to support children’s enjoyment of reading, this is not reflected in current assessment. National Literacy Trust research shows that pupils who enjoy reading ‘very much’ are three times as likely to read above the level expected for their age as those who do not enjoy reading at all.

The Read On. Get On. campaign was launched in 2014 by a coalition of organisations including the National Literacy Trust. The campaign aligns with the goals of the Vision for Literacy and the Fair Education Alliance and achieved cross-party support last year. Celebrities and authors who are backing the campaign include David Walliams, Myleene Klass, Joanna Trollope and Cressida Cowell.

To download the strategy visit

Early intervention matters

Language development in the early years predicts educational achievement through to school leaving age.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds often have poorer language skills and start school from a lower point than children from better off backgrounds. New research conducted for the Coalition shows that the language of children from the poorest families is, on average, 19 months behind their better off peers.

This puts them at risk of problems with reading.

I CAN offers a range of evidence-based early years and primary programmes and interventions that support children and young people to develop the language and literacy skills they need to succeed and thrive.

Early Talk Boost is a targeted intervention aimed at 3-4 year old children with delayed language development helping to boost their language skills to help narrow the gap between them and their peers.

Early Talk 0-5 years - I CAN's communication and language programme, aimed at the early years workforce in partnership with parents.

Talk Boost KS1 - A structured and robustly evidenced programme that can boost a child's communication by an average of 18 months after ten weeks of intervention, narrowing the gap between 4-7 year olds with language delay and their peers.

Further information can be found here.

Tips for parents and professionals

I CAN has provided top tips to Read On. Get On. to help parents and professionals get children reading. To receive your copy, sign up here on the Read On. Get On. website.

You can also download our fact sheets on the following topics:

- The links between early language development and literacy
- Early language development: the facts and statistics
- Speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and literacy development
- Take 10 – Tips to help your child become a good reader
- How does I CAN support communication development in Primary Schools
- An overview of Government commitment to Early Years and Early Language Development