Parents Failing to Teach Children to Talk

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Over 300,000 toddlers have never been read a nursery rhyme by their parents, a Government survey suggests.

Eight per cent of children aged under five in England have never learnt songs, poems or nursery rhymes, according to a Department for Education (DfE) poll of 2,685 mothers and fathers.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent of youngsters in the same age group have never learnt numbers or how to count and 14 per cent - 574,928 children - have never learnt the alphabet or how to recognise words.

Ministers will launch a public information campaign later this year urging parents to ‘Chat, Play, Read’ with their children before they start school.

The Education Secretary has said that children being sent to school unable to speak in sentences is a ‘persistent scandal’ and that parents failing to teach their children how to talk is the ‘last taboo’ in education.

More than a quarter of four-and-five-year-olds lack the early communication and literacy skills expected by the end of reception year.

The ‘expected level’ includes a child having the words and understanding to talk about events that have happened or are going to happen in the future.

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