A recent study has shown that many GCSE pupils have the reading level of a 13-year-old, or potentially younger.
The study conducted on almost one million pupils across the UK has also shown that the difference between reading age and physical age gets worse year after year.
According to Keith Topping, Professor of Education and Social Research at the University of Dundee, the level that children are required to read at each year increases, however, the standard at which they are able to read decreases. Professor Topping, concludes that “With this in mind, teachers could encourage them [children] to talk more openly about what they are reading, and make appropriate suggestions to their classmates… If children are not practicing reading at a high enough level, they are likely to have difficulty understanding examination questions”.
This decline in ability to read causes difficulty at GCSE level, particularly during exams, so, what can be done to help aide this complex situation?
Research has shown that when children write online, with purpose and for an audience, their level of attainment and ability in literacy increases massively. This is how The Wonder Why Society can contribute to fixing this issue: children are given a safe, moderated place to discuss topics that are close to their own heart, and show off their work. We want children to feel proud of the stories that they write, the things that they learn and the research that they do, and to be able to display it to peers, teachers and parents online.
Not only this, but the idea that their work may be seen by their peers also helps them to strive to improve their reading and writing.
Why not see if it will work for you and your students?