Tackling literacy-related learning difficulties in children By Dr Sandra Marshall & Professor Pamela Snow

Literacy-related learning difficulties are common. One in five students in Year 4 across Australia failed to achieve international benchmarks in the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study assessment.

This study found that 19% did not achieve the intermediate benchmark and 6% did not reach the minimum (low) benchmark for literacy.

Further, more than half of Australians aged 15-19 have a literacy level that is “insufficient to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work”.

Reading difficulties in early life are strongly linked with behavioral and emotional difficulties, a pattern that can persist into adulthood and is sometimes characterised as a “school-to-prison pipeline”.

Low literacy levels are endemic in youth justice and adult criminal justice systems.