Department for Education written question – answered on 17th May 2022.

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Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of using audiobooks to engage wider participation in reading to support the Levelling Up agenda.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The department wants children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. Research suggests that reading for pleasure is more important for children’s educational development than their parents’ level of education. The national curriculum states that teachers are expected to encourage pupils to develop the habit of reading widely. It emphasises the importance of pupils listening to, discussing, and as their fluency increases, reading for themselves a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books. The department has not undertaken research on the specific contribution or role of audiobooks, however, welcomes their use alongside other formats of books.

In March, the department published the Schools White Paper. This sets out our long-term vision for a school system that helps every child to fulfil their potential by ensuring that they receive the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

At its heart is the Government’s Levelling Up mission. This aims that by 2030, 90% of children will leave primary school having achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths. As part of this, the department is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children can read fluently and with understanding. Further information on the Schools White Paper can be accessed here:

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