Boys Struggle with Language Skills in Early Years

September 16, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. consequence / ˈkɒn sɪˌkwɛns / (n.) – the effect of something
Example: The consequence of not studying for the test is failing.

2. lag behind / læg bɪˈhaɪnd / (phrasal v.) – to achieve less than someone else
Example: She lagged behind her classmates because of her frequent absences.

3. struggle / ˈstrʌg əl / (v.) – to have difficulty with something
Example: He struggled with balancing his studies and his soccer training.

4. attainment / əˈteɪn mənt / (n.) – an act of reaching a goal
Example: The attainment of her law degree is her goal for this year.

5. underprivileged / ˈʌn dərˈprɪv ə lɪdʒd / (adj.) – describing someone who belongs to a low economic and social status
ExampleUnderprivileged children do not have access to quality education.


Read the text below.
International non-governmental organization Save the Children revealed in a report the possible consequences for boys in England who are lagging behind girls in English language skills by the time they start school.

The report is based on a recent University of Bristol study and the Millennium Cohort Study, a survey that followed the lives of about 19,000 people born in the United Kingdom.

The report emphasized that children who are falling behind in basic language and communication skills on their first day of school are more likely to stay behind in the next ten years. Data from the previous academic year shows that in England, 80,000 boys struggled to follow simple instructions and utter full sentences.

It is also estimated that one in four boys has difficulty with language skills attainment by the age of five. The report also identified factors that can contribute to this struggle, such as poverty and the type of social interactions they have at home and in the community.

The report is calling on the UK government to invest in quality primary education and provide a well-qualified nursery workforce. Well-trained teachers can identify which children are falling behind and help them catch up through encouragement and simple language exercises. The report also stressed that places with large numbers of underprivileged children should be prioritized.

In response to the report, a spokesperson from the Department for Education said that the organization is working on eliminating the gaps in children’s basic language skills by investing in the primary education sector and hiring qualified and skilled teachers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from what is mentioned in the article, how else can the UK government improve children’s language skills?
·         What can schools do to address language skills gaps?

Discussion B

·         What education-related issues are being faced by your country?
·         Are you satisfied with the quality of primary education in your country? Why or why not?

September 16, 2016