The Bookseller - 08.06.11 | Graeme NeillAn early engagement with books in the home is a core function of a child's future success, the former director of Ofsted has said. Speaking at a parliamentary reception for the children's literacy charity Volunteer Reading Help, Sir Jim Rose said the work the charity did was crucial for developing children's reading skills. It has a team of volunteers who read to primary school children with poor literacy skills across England.
The reception, which was sponsored by HarperCollins, follows extensive coverage in the Evening Standard about the problems of literacy within London. Volunteer Reading Help's c.e.o. Sue Porto said children without crucial literacy skills could become highly disenfranchised in later life. She said: "They may become one of the statistics of the prison population of 85,000. Of those, 48% have a reading age of below a seven year old and 80% are functionally illiterate."
Sir Jim said it was crucial to ensure children were confident readers, who not only read for learning but read for pleasure. He said: "Early engagement with books in the home is a core function for success."
Victoria Barnsley, c.e.o. and publisher of HarperCollins, said: “As a publisher, encouraging a love of reading, a passion for books and a thirst for knowledge is a cause close to our hearts. Volunteer Reading Help carries out vital work inspiring thousands of children to achieve their true potential and HarperCollins is proud to sponsor them