Schools minister Nick Gibb has stressed the need for greater emphasis to be placed on teaching the basic skills of reading and writing to primary school pupils.
Figures published by the Department for Education show that almost a third of pupils eligible for free school meals are failing to achieve expected levels across all elements of Key Stage 1 - English, maths, reading and science.
Mr Gibb said that although there has been a slight increase in attainment overall, it is a "real concern" that children from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to be outperformed.
"Getting the fundamentals right is crucial to a child's success in secondary education and throughout their adult life and the government is committed to getting all children reading and writing to a high standard," he said.
Mr Gibb added that the coalition is promoting the use of systematic synthetic phonics in primary schools and introducing a short reading test for six-year-old pupils.
In related news, the government last week announced plans to review SATs tests.