Literacy and Early Years

Manchester early years dad

Our research into early years includes the Home Learning Environment (HLE), early communication and the use of technology

Our research into early years includes the Home Learning Environment (HLE), early communication and the use of technology.

Key statistics on early years and literacy

  • Children who struggle with language at age five are five times more likely to fail to reach the expected standard in English aged 11 (23% vs 4%). Find out more.
  • In 2019, 175,000 five-year-olds in England started primary school without the communication, language and literacy skills expected for their age. Find out more.
  • A quality home learning environment can enable children to develop the language and communication skills they need to learn and develop socially and emotionally. Find out more.

Early years and COVID-19

During COVID-19, Many families reported enjoying spending more time together at home. 90% of families reported an increase in enriching activities, such as chatting, playing and reading, during lockdown. However, there has been a marked difference between children who have spent enhanced quality time at home with their parents, and those who have been at home in more difficult circumstances. Find out more.

Our latest research in Early Years

Read more Early Years research

What else we know about Early Years and literacy

  • Fewer parents engaged in home learning activities (for example chatting to and reading with their children) in 2021 compared with 2019. Find out more.
  • Although children from disadvantaged backgrounds read printed stories less frequently than their peers, they look at or read stories on a touchscreen more frequently. Find out more.
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Our Early Years work