In an article relating to World Book Day (5th March), Our CEO Ginny Williams-Ellis spoke to The Bookseller about the growing crisis of adult literacy in the UK.
England is the only country in the developed world where literacy levels are worse in the younger generation (16-24) than in those approaching retirement. In 2013, the literacy levels of England’s 16-24 year olds were ranked 22nd out of 24 developed countries by the intergovernmental economic organisation, the OECD.
That’s a lot of parents who cannot support their children’s reading, a lot of parents for whom the words ‘World Book Day’ make them feel sick to their core. Many of these parents don’t even enter a doctor’s surgery when they are ill because they are frightened that they will be asked to read something or fill in a simple form, and for them the doors of Waterstones seem to resemble the gates of a kingdom they are forbidden from entering. Such is the shame many parents feel at not being able to read, they find it easier instead to hide the reading books their children bring home from school, so they are not faced with being asked to read with them.
We remain the only national charity providing confidential one-to-one coaching for people who are struggling to read. The coaching is delivered by trained volunteers through a network of affiliated locally-run volunteer groups. Reading pairs meet twice a week at approved local venues to work for just half an hour at a time through a structured, phonics-based reading programme. It’s a simple model, but it’s a model that works and we are changing lives forever.
You can read the full article here: