Save The Children’s latest campaign ‘Read On, Get On’ launched on Monday 8th February at the University of Nottingham (UoN). The campaign aims to raise awareness of the need for reading tuition for children at an earlier age than is commonly assumed.

The campaign seeks to combat a national deterioration of literacy rates, which sees neglecting teaching reading before five years of age having knock-on effects on their comprehension up to and beyond leaving school at age eleven.

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to get the government to acknowledge the issue and to raise awareness themselves, directing resources towards the promotion of early reading.

This will be done through the petitioning of local MPs in the regions of the campaign, and the presence of ‘Read On, Get On’ in the University of Nottingham’s Portland building aims to do exactly that.

Students are being asked to put their name to the cause, which will later be sent to local MPs in Nottinghamshire.

It is an issue particularity pressing in a city which was recently ranked lowest in the East of the country for level two SATs, producing grades two percent less than the national average.

“If we’re going to take advantage of facilities we have access to here, we have a responsibility to those who don’t in the community”

The stall also asks students to pose with their favourite childhood books, to be shared on social media and later compiled into a video that will be sent to MPs, in the hope of putting faces to the cause.

The campaign is being run at the University by eight students participating in a module of the University of Nottingham’s Advantage Award scheme, organised by Save The Children.

Asha Rahman, a third year English student and one of the eight students involved in the running of the campaign at the University, told Impact that the cause is a personal one.

Asha said that few students consider the issue because, by virtue of their being at university, they had the privilege many local children did not. She said “if we’re going to take advantage of facilities we have access to here, we have a responsibility to those who don’t in the community”.

“They think the school can fix the situation but they need to be reading regularly with their kids at home”

As part of another module of the Advantage Award, Asha went into local schools every week for a year, and read with seven year olds – many of whom had difficulties pronouncing basic words, and often had the reading age of four year olds.

For her, the campaign corrects a misappropriation of blame. She said that she saw parents angry with the schools for the failing, when the issue actually comes from the home environment.

She said many children didn’t see the point in reading anymore and “a lot of that sentiment comes from the parents themselves”.

She continued, “They think the school can fix the situation but they need to be reading regularly with their kids at home. Schools simply don’t have the resources to enact what should be a daily domestic routine”.

The University of Nottingham branch of ‘Read On, Get’ On can be found on Facebook under ‘UoN Read On Get On’ and on Twitter at @Uon_ReadOnGetOn. See pictures from their Portland stall and join the debate using the #ReadOnGetOn tag.

Liam Inscoe-Jones

Image: UoN ‘Read On, Get On’ via Facebook 

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