Friday, September 15, 2006

Could do better

Following on from what I was saying the other day about the encouragement my four year old was getting over reading but the diminishing interest in what older children are doing out come statistics to back that impression up. According to the latest key stage three results children of 14 are not reading as well as they should be. The Guardian reports that both the Conservatives and Liberals have described the results, with a third of children not reading at the required level, as “unacceptable”.
Of course they would say that but this is far from being simply a political issue. In a texting, sound byte culture children probably don’t feel the need to read even a 100 page novel. Add to that the fact that we are increasingly entering a period where reading, barring the Richard & Judy book club, is not even on the cultural radar you start to put the problem into a wider context.
If the aim is to get more children reading then the benefits of doing it have to be explained and a culture of encouragement increased. For those of us who grew up with Jackanory the wonder of a book never had to be explained. It is no good just blaming Labour for failing teenage readers the finger of blame needs to be pointed at a lot more targets.

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