Reading time: 3 minutes

The pandemic caused a massive loss in learning, particularly reading. Pupil’s mental health and well-being were also impacted and improving this will still take time. It’s crucial to support children’s development and aspirations and this can be initiated by implementing fundamental reading skills. Statistics highlight:

“Nationally, in March 2021, the average learning loss in reading for primary-school-aged pupils was 2.2 months. By June 2021, this had decreased to 0.9 months, indicating some level of recovery. However, there was less progress for secondary pupils. Losses of 1.5 months in autumn term 2020 had decreased only slightly, to 1.2 months, by summer term 2021.”

Richard Cowie Headshot EDClass had a conversation with the founder of Reading on Your Head, Richard Cowie, and discussed the importance of reading and its reasons for essential development. The company supports pupil premiums and focuses on disadvantaged students to help close the reading and attainment gap. Let’s take a look at three reasons why reading is essential for personal and academic development:

1. Closes the attainment gap

Reading is a core component to help children fulfil their educational potential in line with the SEND & AP improvement plan. Students with lower reading levels are more likely to be left behind in their education and development than their peers.

Richard outlined:

“There are a lot of well-respected studies that have been done that track reading attainment and lower reading attainment and pupils being left behind. As pupils move from primary to secondary to adult life, there is a reading gap from an early age and that gap can widen as you get older. This can then lead to worse results in GCSEs and adults.”

Reading can instil confidence and self-esteem in young learners who want to succeed with their education. This can then allow them to progress better and realise what they are truly capable of.

2. Accommodates needs and supports development

Identifying a student’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial if they are to succeed. Reading can also children to assist to identify their areas for improvement which can help generate a strategic and holistic plan to overcome their barriers to learning. Richard added:

“Reading is one of those skills that underpins everything that children do. We need to encourage reading. It doesn’t matter what material we just need to give them something they’re interested in and present it to them.”

Accommodating the specific needs of students can encourage them to engage further with their learning and make more of a conscious effort to focus. Subsequently, this can support children’s development so they can thrive in their education.

3. Reading prepares children for adulthood

Children are in their developmental stages throughout their lives and can need constant reassurance and support, especially those struggling with their reading. That is why it is important to provide reading material that accommodates their needs so they can be well-prepared to tackle adulthood. Children who engage more with their reading can improve their communication skills helping to form more meaningful relationships and increase their prospects once they leave school. Richard stated:

“It’s good to find a balance of reading online and offline. If you can read fluently and you can read confidently that you’ll find, I think that carries through your childhood into your teenage years and your adult life and can have a massive positive impact on outcomes throughout your life.”

This can also have a positive impact on mental health and well-being as children can immerse themselves in reading. By providing an engaging novel, children can become enthused for their learning.

Trying an online alternative provision

For some children who struggle with reading, this can coincide with mental health, behavioural or neurodivergent challenges. This can result in a reluctance to attend or engage with mainstream education. Therefore, we must find a more suitable solution for them to support their education and assist with positive reintegration.

An online alternative provision, such as EDClass, can provide one-to-one support for students struggling with their development and in terms of their reading skills. Important progression tracking is implemented to identify areas of improvement with specific learning pathways integrated.

If you would like to learn about EDClass call 01909 568338, send an email to or enquire for more information here.

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