A Birmingham company is aiming to stamp out bad behaviour in class by helping teachers improve children's reading ability.
Tackling pupils' poor behaviour is high on the Government's agenda, with Education Minister Ruth Kelly asking every school to develop a Behaviour Toolkit to stop pupils misbehaving.
A local company, run by former teachers, has developed a resource called the text checker which, it claims, provides a solution to low-level behaviour problems in class and gives teachers a much-needed resource to support their work.
Julie Owen, director of The Inclusion Consultancy Ltd, developed the text checker after 22 years of teaching in special and mainstream schools in Birmingham.
She feels that too many teachers are faced with classes where a high percentage of pupils may have reading ages which are different to their chronological ages and this can cause to behaviour problems.
She said: "Many children, who have behaviour problems, also have learning difficulties. If we can offer work at an appropriate level for each child then they have a much better chance of success.
"For example a youngster of 14 with a reading age of eight would much rather cause a disturbance in class than lose face with their friends by admitting that they cannot do the work. But we hope by using the text checker to verify that the work is at the right level, the teacher can give the children the best possible chance to complete their work."
The text checker is a key ring with sample text at each age level which enables teach-ers to check if the work they are offering to their students is at the correct level. Pupils can then complete more of their work independently and this cuts down on interruptions in class.
The company has already sold 3,000 by word-of-mouth and the Birmingham Pupil Support Service has bought one for each of its employees so they can take them into schools.
Illiteracy in British schools is a growing problem, according to a report by the National Audit Office.
The report, published in December 2004, said most school leavers lack the literacy and numeracy skills needed to participate fully in the modern economy.
According to the NAO, the 350,000 16-year-olds, who failed every year to achieve at least grade C in GCSE English and maths, would be increasingly less able to find a job because of growing competition from low-cost countries such as China.
In addition, 26 million adults - two thirds of those of working age - were in the same position. An international survey also found that the UK had a higher proportion of adults with low levels of literacy and numeracy than 13 other developed countries.
In an effort to combat the problem, the Government is spending £750 million a year on adult literacy and numeracy programmes but the number of adults without adequate literacy and numeracy skills was still growing by 100,000 a year, said the NAO.