The community and reading and writing

Richard Kaa

Let's Read

Let's Read is an exciting initiative to promote reading with young children 0-5 years.

There is a range of components to Let's Read. These work together to support and empower parents/carers to read with their young children.

Let's Read aims to give children the skills they will need to learn to read when they start school.

Let's Read is designed to be owned by and delivered in the community.


Reading with young children is probably the single most important activity that you can do to develop a child's future ability to read and write. Reading aloud with children also supports their development in other ways, such as language development, promoting parent-child bonding and socialisation and helps parents relate positively to their children.

It is important that all children, from a very early age, are read to every day. This activity needs to be seen as a vital part of a child's development. Reading with young children needs to be promoted to families and all members of the community as a fun and integral part of a child's daily routine.

There are very strong links between literacy, school performance, self-esteem, and life chances. Poor literacy skills are associated with generally lower education, earnings, health and social outcomes as well as being linked to high rates of unemployment, welfare dependence and teenage parenting.

Almost all children learn to talk without being formally taught to do so. On the other hand, the development of literacy skills such as reading and writing is markedly different from the development of language, although dependent on it. Literacy is thought to be "experience dependent" as it can be encouraged by particular experiences. Positive experiences to develop literacy may not be available to everyone.

A number of independent skill sets have been identified as early predictors of later reading success, often referred to as emergent literacy. These skill sets include:

· language abilities (vocabulary),

· the ability to identify the names and sounds of letters (the alphabet),

· an ability to identify and manipulate sounds (phonological awareness),

· an understanding of print conventions together with literacy environments (having books in the home).

A significant body of research has demonstrated a strong relationship between these emergent literacy skills and later success in reading when the child begins their formal education. Let's Read is based on an "emergent literacy" framework.

The research evidence shows that those children who experience difficulties in learning to read are unlikely to catch up to their peers. Children who struggle with reading in their first years of schooling are more likely to dislike reading, read less, and thus fall further behind. Efforts to help children who have an established reading problem and negative attitudes to reading are not always successful. We need to focus on activities early in life that encourage positive attitudes to books and reading to lay the foundation for sound literacy at school. Although "learning to read" in a formal sense usually begins once a child commences school, the building blocks for success in literacy are laid much earlier in childhood.

Let's Read has been designed to be owned by and delivered in the community. This enables the initiative to be placed within existing systems/services that can be easily accessed by families with young children.

More information is available at this website: