Published on: 05 Jan 2018

A fifth of children in the UK, and almost a third of disadvantaged children, enter secondary school at age 11 without being able to read well

Reading for the future

By Hilary Fine, Senior Publisher, GL Assessment

The figures are stark: a fifth of children in the UK, and almost a third of disadvantaged children, enter secondary school at age 11 without being able to read well and therefore being unable to achieve their full potential in secondary school and beyond.

Read On. Get On. was launched in 2014 by a coalition of charities and education organisations committed to improving reading levels in the UK, and their goal is to get all children ‘reading well’ by the age of 11 by 2025. Last month, they published the ROGO Index for the first time – an index that is based on a model of what it means to be ‘reading well’ at age 11, and it makes for very interesting reading.

The premise is that a good reader has three areas of strength:

  • Strong reading skills (including phonics and decoding)
  • High levels of reading enjoyment
  • Reading behaviours which include reading outside school on a daily basis

The ROGO Index proposes that reading is not only about good reading skills such as decoding and comprehension, but also includes measures of attitudes towards reading and reading behaviours - and, importantly, that all three are linked. The ROGO Index determines how well 11-year-olds in England are reading across these three areas at the current time.

Reading skills and NGRT data

GL Assessment is proud to have been involved in creating the ROGO Index by contributing data from our New Group Reading Test (NGRT), which shows that children’s reading skills have remained consistent over the past three years.

Children’s levels of reading enjoyment (75%) and daily reading frequency (50%) are, however, both lower than their reading skills (85%). The ROGO coalition research report provides a useful summary of a wealth of research into reading attainment, attitudes and behaviours and the relationship between these areas.

Reading enjoyment

There is a link between high levels of reading enjoyment and better educational outcomes; in short, children who enjoy reading read more often and get better at reading. This makes reading for enjoyment a significant predictor of reading skill (which was measured using the New Group Reading Test).

In the report, the strongest relationship was found between reading enjoyment and:

  • Frequency
  • Number of books read
  • Breadth of reading
  • Time spent reading books

Children who read more tend to have positive attitudes towards reading. Most children start with positive attitudes towards reading, but if they struggle with reading they often develop negative attitudes, which may lead to a vicious circle in which children who fail to keep up with the reading progress of their peers have their negative attitudes cemented. Interventions are therefore needed to break the cycle and re-establish positive attitudes.

Reading frequency

Those who read more are better readers. Children who reported reading for fun outside school, daily or almost every day, have higher reading achievement than those reading for fun less frequently. Children who read frequency will develop their reading and their willingness to read for pleasure. Less frequent readers will not develop their reading skills, which might further discourage them from reading. However, frequent reading is not always linked to better skills in reading comprehension.

Top tips


In order to get ‘reading well’ by age 11, the focus is now on developing positive attitudes towards reading and reading behaviours. To help here, ROGO has developed some top tips for schools and for parents.


Are you carrying out an initiative to improve enjoyment of reading among your pupils?


Do you have an initiative in your school that aims to develop positive attitudes towards reading? If you are interested in seeing whether or not it is having an impact on reading attainment and progress, write to us at