Sunday, 15 July 2012

Parent writes re. reading

[my comments in italics as 'Editor']

Hi Michael,

I wanted to bring some positivity to the debate. My children (age 7 and 9) go to a village primary school with a fantastic library which they are encouraged to use as much as possible. On top of that, the village has its own library which albeit small is brilliant. My daughter does the 'book tracker challenge' and has decided she will be a writer when she grows up :-)

It is vital for schools to encourage reading as there remains a large number of children who do not get to read at home. One powerful example was in my daughter's class last year (year 3). At the start of the year the new library had suffered technological issues and was unavailabe for 3 weeks. The teacher asked the children to bring a book from home to read for literacy lessons. At the end of the first week, a couple of the children had still not brought any books and after talking to the parents, it transpired those children did not have a single book in their house that they could bring.

Without encouragement, most children may choose to not read. I speak from experience as my youngest son is not a keen reader despite living in a household where books are everywhere. I exasperate my husband by carrying a book everywhere and reading even as I am cooking or eating. My daughter never stops reading and we also have newspapers scattered everywhere. In this age of technology, I have to convince my son to pick up a book. Sometimes though there is a 'snobbery' about children reading 'good' books. In my experience, any book is better than none. There is no point hoping a child will pick up the books we would like them to read. The lightbulb moment with my son was 'Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of the Purple Potty People' (or something like that): hardly award-winning stuff ["Might be eligible for some award-winning for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, though." Editor's comment] but he loves it and that is all that matters. My daughter started with dreadful fairy books but has now graduated to Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson and frankly anything else she can get her hands on. As an aside, she got into poetry thanks to you so thank you for that.

Parents have the biggest part to play ["This is confirmed by Dr Barry Sullivan and the research from the National Literacy Trust, and the University Nevada Research tagged on this blog several times under 'Books, books, books' " Editor's comment ]. If unfortunately the schools do not have enough books, or no books at all, then take them to the library, buy books, join a website like '', trawl charity shops for cheap books ... it does not have to cost money but it is really important.

Anyway enough ranting but thank you for bringing the debate to the fore. I follow your blog and have just started following you on Twitter: my daughter is 'well impressed' as they say in the playground.

The French Girl

[Editor's reference for open use for all. Please use and adapt for your own purposes: ]