English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development.
Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners.
Reading development is closely related to that of writing, for it is by reflecting upon and talking about the texts they encounter that pupils come to understand how writers write and the special relationship which exists between author and reader. It is through their critical and imaginative engagement with texts that pupils’ reading of fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts enables them to make sense of the world and their place in it.