Reading – a 26 mile marathon!

Becoming a strong reader requires time and patience. In order to fully develop their skills children need to read over 26 miles of text.

This reading marathon corresponds to about 5,000 hours of reading time or 834 days in the classroom, which cannot be accomplished in school alone. To become a strong reader children need to engage with reading outside of school and explore a variety of different material.

A child who reads often will have a vocabulary of between 50,000 and 70,000 words at the age of 17, which is the level of literacy required to read a normal newspaper or understand a broadcast. A child who does not read often will have a vocabulary of just 17,000 words at the age of 17. But why is this? Quite simply, most of our vocabulary comes from printed text; within the classroom reading is often required to access content, especially as children get older.

The new English literature GCSE specification, for instance, involves reading a large number of texts, many of which deal with complex ideas in a sometimes unfamiliar language. But it’s not only English that can pose problems for a child with limited vocabularies. Many subjects have become increasingly content heavy, and the lion’s share of resources for subjects such as geography, history and modern foreign languages is made up of written material. Encouraging pupils to pick up good reading habits early puts them on the path to success both in the classroom and beyond.

However, children take in text in different ways and the reading journey is not always straight forward, like running a marathon it requires training. For some, decoding is so difficult that they struggle to develop fluency and comprehension skills, while others learn quickly and can dive right into the world of reading.

Helping all children train on their individual reading journeys can be difficult, especially when juggling all the day to day challenges of a primary classroom. We have created the following FREE guide to reading support to help you identify and support children in your classroom, with tailored interventions and tools to help with monitoring progression over time.

Download the Reading Support Guide

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