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Why We Must Take Action
Poor literacy and command of the English language can have an extremely negative impact on the lives of children, adults, and on society as a whole, as well as costing the tax payer considerable sums. Read on to find out why Real Action’s work is so vital in addressing these issues.
Children’s Futures at Stake
When children can’t read properly, they suffer. The cost to their potential is immeasurable. Thinking processes, unenhanced by literacy, become stunted. Communication is blunted. This affects behaviour. For many there is no language beyond ‘street’ language, no culture or values beyond ‘street’ culture and values. Cultural divides widen and harden.
And all the pleasures of reading, and the knowledge, culture and understanding that come with studying subjects like English literature, history, geography, and the sciences are out of reach. So is higher education, and choice among careers.
Personal, Social and Cultural Consequences
Poor literacy is a personal, social and cultural dead end.
Society inevitably suffers:
One in four children leaves primary school unable to read and write properly.
- As many as half arrive at secondary school as dysfunctional readers – with reading ages below nine, with some of them barely able to read at all. Unsurprisingly –
- One in four leaves secondary school with poor qualifications and poor prospects.
- One in six school leavers never enters employment, further education or training. Each costs the taxpayer on average almost £100,000.
- One in five adults’ reading level is below that of an eleven-year old.
- Six out of ten offenders in prison are functionally illiterate
- Educational under-achievement costs the nation an estimated £18bn a year in foregone earnings.
Solutions at Hand
But it need not be like this. Virtually all children, whatever their background, can be taught to read – swiftly and enjoyably.
Second Chances and New Beginnings
It is not just children whose life chances and self-belief can be enhanced through targeted interventions. At Real Action we have witnessed many of our English Express students flourish here, finding employment, a sense of achievement and a constructive place in the wider community as a result of their newly-improved English language skills.
Similarly, through their improved literacy our Fast Track students find themselves empowered for the first time to engage with the community and economy in new ways, providing immeasurable benefits to themselves, their families and to wider society.