Today sees the publication of the final report of Sir Jim Rose’s Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum.
In this report, Sir Jim Rose identifies that the language aquisition of children entering primary education needs to be addressed. It’s shocking: children from deprived socio-economic backgrounds arrive at school with a vocabulary of around 500 words (and often are unable to string a sentence together), which compared to the 6,000 words that children from more affluent backgrounds come with, elucidates the magnitude of the problem. We don’t know yet how this issue will be addressed but it is hoped that Sir Jim Rose’s report will lead to some action being taken by the government.
We need to work out a stratgegy to enable children to aquire the language they need in order to express themsleves and to understand difficult and complex issues and challenges. Through our outreach work with Get Into Reading and Liverpool Reads, we have learnt that not only reading and not only reading aloud but reading more challenging books aloud with children (and adults) not only increases their vocabulary and therefore improves literacy but it also gives them an emotional language – a way to express themselves. If this is not done, if children are unable to learn this vital vocabulary, then it will be only their feet they use and not their minds: the book will be booted out.