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Save the Children UK
Learning to read well starts early, and good early language skills are the vital stepping stone. If children do not learn to speak and listen from an early age, along with developing their understanding of the meaning of words and stories, they will struggle to learn to read well when they get to primary school. The Read On. Get On. campaign has therefore set an interim goal that every five-year-old in England has good language skills by 2020.
This report explains why children’s early language skills are so important for learning to read, and why poor children face the greatest risk of falling behind from an early age. It shows that without a step-change in support for children’s early language development, particularly for the poorest children, we will never achieve our goal of all children leaving primary school able to read well. Boosting children’s early language skills is therefore critical to narrow the attainment gap and improve the life chances of our poorest children.