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Getting ready to read – a blog from Virginia Beardshaw CBE, I CAN CEO

This week our blog is dedicated to our membership of the Read On.Get On campaign which is focussing on getting little ones ready to read by helping parents develop 2-5 year old’s communication skills

People might be curious as to why a communication charity is involved in a coalition to get children reading. And this curiosity is exactly why I CAN is a founding member of Read On.Get On – because language is the foundation skill on which reading rests and if children can’t talk, listen and take part they will struggle to read and struggle to get on in life.

In June when the latest report Ready to Read was launched I wrote the following:

“I CAN has campaigned for years about the importance of early language development to children’s ability to read and to their wider life chances.

Because together we can do something about the language levels of our littlest children.

The point is that children are hardwired to learn language. All children, whatever their background and difficulties, can improve, given the right support and environment.  What this report is telling us is that we need to make sure this happens as early as possible.

Children learn to talk through interaction. But we know that many parents don’t know this, because nobody tells them. They  are also often unaware of how important language is to their child’s chances in life. They need more information, help and support to help their child’s language develop.

The importance of talking with children is why everyone who works with them and their families must be trained to do everything in their power to support our littlest children to develop the language skills they need  to get on in life.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, early years staff – everyone.   

Children’s language and communication must become everyone’s business, so we can improve children’s life chances right from the start. If we don’t, the price in terms of wasted potential is quite simply far too high. Only then will we be doing all we can to get our littlest children ready to read”.

This week as the campaign focuses on the help and support already available from our coalition and talks directly to parents about it my invitation to you is to visit our website. Look at the information on Talking Point, download our free resources, check out how your little one is doing with our progress checker. Find out some of the really easy things you can do to make story time anytime, enjoy the story starters in this week’s newspapers which our team developed with the campaign. If you’re worried or confused, call our enquiry service, ask us what we you need to know and do. Because what you do makes the biggest difference because you’re your child’s biggest influence. And we’d like to be with you every step of the way.

A blog by Virginia Beardshaw CBE, I CAN CEO