Poll on literacy

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Literacy is an essential skill but the ability to read and write is too often taken for granted. Individuals may feel ashamed that they cannot read and write well enough and children may try to hide it from their teachers and classmates, adding to the pressure of their learning experience.

The OECD defines functional literacy as “the ability to read and write at a level that enables development and functioning in society at home, school and work.” Literacy has many different dimensions and links with essential related areas such as oracy, digital competence, and being able to analyse news media critically.

Improved literacy not only helps overcome poverty of income in later life, it also helps overcome poverty of aspiration. Strong literacy skills can increase self-confidence, improve health and wellbeing, and increase civic and social engagement.

Schools naturally play a vital role in ensuring young people have adequate levels of literacy. However, progress towards the European target of no more than 15 percent of low-achieving 15 year-olds in reading literacy by 2020 has been slow; indeed the percentage of poor readers has actually increased since 2000 and boys’ literacy has fallen further behind girls’.

This short poll seeks your opinions on the topic of children’s literacy and school education, and should take no longer than five minutes. The poll is available in 23 languages and open until 20th May here.