9 In 10 Children From Indian Elite Schools Can’t Read English: Astonishing Report Reveals

Stones2Milestones, an organization that aims to address the reading and learning levels of students across the country, has just released its ‘FAST Reading Assessment’ report ‘Where India Reads 2017-18’ that highlights that around 90% of the children in ‘elite schools’ can’t read in English.

The largest study of its kind conducted till date, covered 19,765 children in 106 urban private schools across 20 states of India. These students across grades, 4, 5 and 6 corresponded to the three levels of FAST 4, FAST 5 and FAST 6 in 2017-18. Reviewed by Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) India, FAST is a breakthrough assessment and report, for educators in India. The research for the report began over a year earlier in May 2017, a process which was led by Aditi Mehta, Head – Content, Training and Impact, at Stones2Milestones.

Here are 10 must-know findings from the report: 

1. Out of the 7,288 children, who appeared in FAST 4, only 12.5% children demonstrate a full and detailed understanding of one or more kinds of texts and are able to challenge themselves to deal with unfamiliar ideas.

2. Even more surprising is the fact that 796 children – almost 11% of those who appeared in FAST 4 – don’t even have the abilities of a FAST 4 Level 1 (lowest level) reader.

3. For FAST 5 & 6, out of the 12,477 children, who appeared for the assessment, only 2.7% displayed good comprehension skills, abilities to predict and infer, and a strong knowledge of age-appropriate synonyms and antonyms.

4. Only 2.7% had the ability to evaluate the author’s intended effect on the reader.

5. For FAST 6, only 3.9% children out of 4209 showed advanced comprehension and vocabulary abilities.

Created by Lipi Mehta

What is your reaction to the fact that 9 in 10 children from elite urban schools can't read English?

6. As per Dr. Venita Kaul, Professor (Emerita) at Ambedkar University, “A challenge which may be responsible for this worrisome situation could be that children may learn to decode, but lack basic skills in English language, leading to ability to ‘read’, but without comprehension. Coming from homes with non-English speaking backgrounds, into schools, which treat English as the first language is unfair to children, but this is a common situation in our country due to rising parental and societal aspirations. Unfortunately, our pedagogy is not in sync with this scenario.”

7. FAST also demonstrated that children with reading-ready environments at home, characterised by access to books of their choice, regularity of reading and support from an adult scored better than those who did not.

8. There is an obvious need for a complete reading ecosystem with parents, schools and teachers as equal stakeholders in a child’s journey to build the will and skill of reading.

Created by Lipi Mehta

Who can motivate children in India to read?

How you can take action:
1. Share this post, which summarises the key findings, and let’s together to ensure it reaches hundreds.
2. Make reading an active topic of conversation at home with your parents, siblings, and friends.
3. Inform yourself in a deeper manner about the FAST report. Or better – take the FAST test yourself here: https://f-ast.in
4. Follow Stones2Milestones’ path-breaking work in the sphere of education, and amplify their mission of creating a nation of readers.

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