Marina Yannakoudakis, Conservative MEP for London, today visited William Davis Primary School in East London. Mrs. Yannakoudakis was accompanying EU Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou who was on a visit to London. Mrs. Yannakoudakis and Commissioner Vassiliou took part in a reading session with a group of children aged 6-10. The event was also attended by representatives of the Volunteer Reading Help (VRH), a charity which trains volunteer reading helpers for schools.

“Thirteen years of a Labour government have lead to a lack of focus on teaching the basics in schools. Reading has been neglected and London is facing a literacy crisis. In Tower Hamlets and ten other London boroughs one in three children is starting secondary school with a reading age of just seven.

“Encouraging children to read and to enjoy books is the best way to foster strong reading skills. While I firmly believe that education is a responsibility of the UK government and not the EU, I welcome Commissioner Vassiliou’s initiative ‘Europe Loves Reading’ and I hope that it will raise awareness of literacy in London as well as across the EU.

“We need to get London reading and organisations such as VRH are doing a great job in providing children with the gift of literacy. As the child of immigrants I had difficulty reading when I first went to school. I know how challenging reading can be, but I also know that when you have built your confidence what a rewarding experience reading is. In the end, I loved to read as a child and I certainly used to read regularly to my three children.” said Mrs. Yannakoudakis.

London MEP Jean Lambert also took part in the visit to the school.

For more information on the ’Europe Loves Reading’ campaign see: http://bit.ly/qqEaOs

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