7/5/2011 3 Comments
How to make reading a chore
Now, I am not a political animal. Politics and politicians normally do not impinge on my life at all - yes I know that is a shameful admission but to quote Bob Dylan 'the times they are a changing'. This government seems to be contradicting themselves at every point, one moment saying literacy for all is one of their key goals, in the next breath taking away funding from organisations that promote reading and writing to young people. The latest ridiculous idea is that primary schools are to be given a set list of the books they must study - what a sensible idea that is ...not! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13320661 How can you decide on certain books that will appeal to all children, boys and girls from every area and cultural diversity and who is going to make this decision? Surely we should have faith in teachers and librarians to have the specialist and local knowledge to be able to choose books to study that will appeal to children in their school without dictating to them about their book choices - after all they know the kids in their school best. Children are not 'one size fits all' and they are all at different stages in their reading journey, will this be taken into account? I suspect not. Having set texts at secondary school has had the effect of turning lots of young people away from reading - even a great work of literature that would normally appeal to a certain age group becomes boring and tedious when one 'has' to read and indeed, dissect it endlessly. Yes we should be encouraging children to read widely, there are so very many fantastic books written for primary kids from brilliant authors that really understand how to enthrall kids but to generalise and say 'all seven year olds should read this book' is quite ludicrous and will not encourage students to explore authors and genres to find things that excite, amuse maybe even terrify them and 'turn them on' to reading as a pleasure for life . If the government want to encourage more primary school kids to learn to love books perhaps they should be looking to ensure that every school has a visit every week from a knowledgeable, enthusiastic, qualified librarian - this would have far more impact than dictating which books should be studied.
I totally agree. Schools should be trusted to spend their book budget on a wide variety of books and for each class to have a regularly refreshed selection. Teachers should use their knowledge about children's books to choose what will appeal to their children. But in my opinion, the one thing that would make a huge difference would be time and space in the timetable for teachers to read to their class every day, just for the pleasure of reading, not to study or dissect the text. Just to share good books.
8/5/2011 08:26:40 am
Thomas I'm with you on the 'let them read rubbish' although I wouldn't describe anything that encourages even one child to read in that way ;0) . Excellent points made Ali, time in the timetable for reading for pleasure would make a huge difference but sadly I can't see this happening any time soon. We are in danger with all these restrictions being mooted of producing a generation of 'book phobics' and this would be tragic.
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My blog is a collection of thoughts and I hope you will learn something about me from the ramblings as well as finding some useful links. I'm Bev Humphrey and I'm a Literacy, School Libraries and Technology Consultant. I am self employed so views expressed are solely my own.
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