Jade Hegarty

The importance of early intervention to provide lifelong literacy support

A recent OECD report calls for stronger basic schooling, and early intervention to ensure more young people have better skills in literacy and numeracy. It also states that young people should be offered "good quality apprenticeships and traineeships", and that more needs to be done to help adult learners.


Children in a reading circle

Last week, the BBC reported that Northern Irish university students ranked 13th (out of 23 countries surveyed) in the developed world for their literacy skills, falling behind the Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

Skills Studies Report

The report stemmed from the OECD’S 2016 publication of its skills studies report, in which it also details low basic skills among around 9 million adults in England (aged 16-65). The report, which looks at adult skills in 23 countries and regions worldwide, highlights the UK as the only region where low basic skills are more common among young people than in many other countries, and that despite an increase in educational opportunities, and a relatively well qualified population of young adults, their basic skills have not advanced.

Stronger basic schooling

The OECD report calls for stronger basic schooling, and early intervention to ensure more young people have better skills in literacy and numeracy. It also states that young people should be offered "good quality apprenticeships and traineeships", and that more needs to be done to help adult learners.

The fact that one third of 16-19 year olds in England have low basic skills underpins a need to address literacy issues much earlier on, so that they are not carried through their educational journey to the workplace, and will not restrict opportunities in later life.

There is clearly a need to address reading and writing skills before the transition from education to the workplace, therefore providing effective, lifelong skills. 

Early intervention

Early intervention with assistive technology can positively impact the reading and writing journey of students in schools worldwide, something which has been proven in the past for students at various grade levels.

By supporting students who need it most, we enable them to reach higher education as more able and more confident learners, allowing them to engage in content they would otherwise be locked out of. 

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