Reading Recovery Europe


Why is reading such a superpower?

'Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.' Kofi Annan.

Why is reading such a superpower?

Posted on 4 March 2019.
Helen Morris

Kofi Annan was well known for his advocacy for literacy skills as a way to change lives for the better. He was right - reading is truly a superpower! Through reading we feed our imaginations, encounter new places and ideas, understand emotions, learn, relax, escape or explore. We learn empathy, meet others like ourselves and others who have very different lives ... all from the comfort of our desk or bed, or favourite chair. Discovering the possibilities of reading is exciting and liberating. 

But some children need a bit more help to develop their reading skills so that they can read for enjoyment, and learning. Reading Recovery makes it possible for those children to become readers before their difficulties become overwhelming. Reading Recovery (based at the International Literacy Centre) is a school-based literacy programme for the lowest achieving children aged five or six. Research shows that at more than four out of five children who take part in Reading Recovery go from being the lowest attaining in literacy in their class to catching up with their peers in less than 20 weeks. Children who completed a Reading Recovery programme at age six are shown to be still working at age appropriate levels of literacy in national assessments at age 11, five years after the end of the intervention:   https://www.ucl.ac.uk/reading-recovery-europe/

Being unable to read well at age 11 has direct consequences for children's futures: they are more likely to struggle at secondary school, get fewer qualifications and find it harder to get a job or to progress in the workplace. We now have evidence that children who have Reading Recovery support early in their primary years will be doing well with reading when they are in their mid-teens:   
The impact of Reading Recovery ten years after the intervention.

During March, Reading Recovery Europe is celebrating reading through the 2019 Reading Recovery Read Aloud. Schools, Reading Recovery teachers and children are hosting events and activities to celebrate the super power of reading.

The Reading Recovery Read Aloud was launched at UCL Institute of Education Library on 1st March with a super power reading party. Children from Grafton Primary School, Phoenix Primary School, Carlton Vale Infants School and Braintcroft E-Act Primary Academy visited the library with their teachers to read to and with some superheroes.

To inspire our young readers, we also asked some older readers why reading is a superpower in their life and work. Here are some of the things they told us:

'Reading is an essential aspect of my professional life, but there is nothing better than relaxing whilst reading a gripping novel.'
Professor Michael Arthur, President & Provost of UCL.

'Reading to and with my children when they were younger were some of the most enjoyable times as a parent; Watership Down was a particular favourite in my household.'
Professor Becky Francis, Director, UCL Institute of Education.

'Reading is important to me for many reasons, but not least because it enables me to write.'
Professor Dominic Wyse, Professor of Early Childhood & Primary Education; Head of Academic Department, Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education.

‘What do I like about reading? A chance to forget all the things that are going on around me and get totally absorbed in another world of story and adventure.’  
Professor Gemma Moss, Professor of Literacy, and Director of the International Literacy Centre.

'Reading helps me make sense of life, love and loss.'
Jean Gross CBE, Independent consultant and writer, Associate Fellow, University of Warwick; Associate, Early Intervention Foundation, Trustee ICAN, Director, The SEAL Community, Reading Recovery Champion.

'Reading is my super power - it’s how I feed my brain, inspire my heart, calm my mind and nourish my soul.'
Fiona Evans, Head of Schools Programmes, National Literacy Trust.

Being able to read enables choices and opens up the world for us.’
Gillian Anderson OBE, Actress, Writer and Producer, Reading Recovery Champion.

‘Reading gives me the gift of special time with my children.’
Gareth Bale, Professional Football Player, Wales and Real Madrid, Reading Recovery Champion.

Reading is important to me. I loved reading Harry Potter Books when I was younger. I also love reading about my sporting hero's such as Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods and Gordon Banks.
Jack Butland, English Professional Football Player, Reading Recovery Champion.

‘I have seen the Northern Lights, outwitted trolls, found a dragon’s treasure and flown on the back of a winged horse, all from my home through the strong magic of reading.’  
Pie Corbett, Writer, Author, Poet and Educational Trainer and Reading Recovery Champion.