Introduction: The Importance of Literacy
In London, teachers involved in the Cambridge House scheme give up their own time voluntarily to teach reading to adults in middle age Who are so ashamed of their deficiency that some have concealed it even from their husbands or wives. Surveys suggest that standards of literacy are declining for the first time since the setting up of State Education in this country in 1870, and national concern is reflected in the establishment of an investigation into the teaching of reading. The NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research) survey of 1970-1 shows a marked drop in the number of very good readers, and an increase in the number of very weak ones. Of course, the question of what is a good or weak reader will crop up again: a good many sidelong glances have already been cast at some of the NFER'S tests.