The Read On. Get On. (ROGO) coalition, which Beanstalk is a part of, has launched the ROGO Index – a new robust measure of children’s reading at age 11 in England [1]. The ROGO coalition has created a more holistic view of how well the nation’s children are reading by bringing together government, commercial and third sector data to indicate whether children are good readers.

Due to the complexities and constraints of national reading assessments, commercial reading assessments are able to test a wider range of children’s cognitive reading skills and thus provide a more comprehensive view of how well the nation’s children are reading.

In publishing commercial reading skills data from GL Assessment and Renaissance Learning alongside government reading skills data for the very first time, the ROGO Index shows that children’s cognitive reading skills have remained consistent over the past three years despite changes in Key Stage 2 national curriculum assessments suggesting fluctuations in attainment [2]. The Index also shows that children’s levels of reading enjoyment and frequency are lower than their levels of cognitive reading skills.

The coalition is calling on the government to redouble efforts to improve children’s levels of reading enjoyment – a call which is further supported by a new research review from the coalition that surfaces the wealth of evidence linking high levels of reading enjoyment with better educational outcomes and improved life chances [3].

In consultation with education experts, academics and teachers, the ROGO coalition has developed a new tripartite model of reading well at age 11. The model asserts that a good reader has strong cognitive reading skills, high levels of reading enjoyment and reads outside school on a daily basis. The ROGO Index measures how well 11-year-olds in England are reading across these three areas using data from the Department for Education, GL Assessment, Renaissance Learning and the National Literacy Trust [4].

The ROGO Index shows that:

  • Children’s reading skills have remained consistent over the past three years according to reading skills data from GL Assessment and Renaissance Learning. National curriculum reading scores declined from 2015-2016 owing to the introduction of the higher standard of the new national curriculum tests
  • Children’s levels of reading enjoyment (75%) and daily reading frequency (50%) are both lower than their levels of cognitive reading skills (85%)
  • Girls outperform boys in all areas of reading

Established in 2014 by a group of 12 charities and educational organisations, including Beanstalk, the ROGO coalition aims to get all children in England reading well by the age of 11. The National Literacy Trust holds the secretariat for the coalition. The coalition will publish the ROGO Index every year to hold the nation to account for the reading levels of its children.

Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive Officer, Beanstalk:

“The development of the ROGO Index is a significant step forwards in acknowledging the different factors that need to be considered when evaluating reading abilities. At Beanstalk we place great emphasis on encouraging children to read for pleasure. It forms the basis of every one-to-one reading session that is undertaken by a Beanstalk reading helper in schools across England and the evidence shows that over time it leads to more confident, passionate and able readers.

“It is deeply concerning that reading enjoyment is currently lagging behind cognitive reading skills according to the ROGO Index and reinforces just how critical it is to ensure that children are given more opportunities to choose and enjoy a wide range of books to develop their reading skills in a fun and engaging way.”

The ROGO coalition has published a top tips resource for teachers and schools to help boost children’s enjoyment of reading and how often they read outside school, as well as a top tips guide for parents to help encourage even the most reluctant child to develop a love of reading: www.readongeton.org.uk

[1] Read On. Get On. (2017) ROGO Index. Published by the National Literacy Trust on behalf of the Read On. Get On. coalition. Available at www.readongeton.org.uk

[2] Department for Education (February 2017) Five things you need to know about changes to primary assessment

[3] Read On. Get On. (2017) What it means to be a reader at age 11 – valuing skills, affective and behavioural processes. Published by the National Literacy Trust on behalf of the Read On. Get On. coalition

[4] Skills data: - Department for Education, Key Stage 2 national curriculum assessment: % of Year 6 pupils in England achieving level 4 in 2014/15; and % of Year 6 pupils achieving at least 100 in 2015/16 and 2016/17 - GL Assessment, New Group Reading Test: % of Year 6 pupils in England scoring 85 or above on NGRT tests in 2014/2015 (N = 27052), 2015/2016 (N = 37052), and 2016/2017 (N = 44372) - Renaissance Learning, Star Reading Test: % of Year 6 pupils in England scoring on scaled scores in Star Reading Tests in 2014/2015 (N = 55419), 2015/2016 (N = 70239), and 2016/2017 (N = 89110)

Reading enjoyment data: - National Literacy Trust, Annual Literacy Survey: Year 6 pupils in England in 2014/2015 (N = 1,938), 2015/2016 (N = 2,312), and 2016/2017 (N = 3,155); % of Year 6 pupils in England who enjoy reading either “very much” or “quite a lot”. - This benchmark for reading well was decided based on a consultation of 82 teachers in October 2017

Reading frequency data: - National Literacy Trust, Annual Literacy Survey: Year 6 pupils in England in 2014/2015 (N = 1,938), 2015/2016 (N = 2,312), and 2016/2017 (N = 3,155); % of Year 6 pupils in England saying that they read daily outside class. This benchmark for reading well was decided based on a consultation of 82 teachers in October 2017