Monday, April 11, 2011

Nurturing a love of books

I can’t resist keep buying books. I was in Rhyl yesterday and popped into The Works (which is a discount bookshop) and picked up Stephen King’s Duma Key, Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold and Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle in a £5 for 3 books deal. I don’t know when I’ll have chance to read them, but they’ll be added to my ever growing ‘to be read’ pile.

But that’s the thing. I love books. Ebooks, printed books, it doesn’t matter. I love reading - always have - and I’ve instilled that love in my son, who at 8 years of age will stop awake late at night reading to himself (which is something that I can't tell him off for) He’s already far advanced in terms of his reading ability and was above the reading age that he should be years ago (I also bought him another book yesterday. I think his book collection will be competing with mine soon). Although he reads to himself, Deb and I still read to him every night too, so even though I don’t always get time to read my own books, I read lots of children’s books. We take him to the library every month and he takes out about 6 books at a time.

Recently The Education Secretary, Michael Gove said that children as young as 11 should be expected to read 50 books a year as part of a national drive to improve literacy standards, because the academic demands placed on English schoolchildren have been “too low for too long”.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said the vast majority of teenagers read just one or two books as part of their GCSEs, normally including John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

Mr Gove said all schools should “raise the bar” by requiring pupils to read large numbers of whole books at the end of primary school and throughout secondary education.

It follows the publication of a report in December showing that reading standards among British teenagers had slumped from 17th to 25th in a major international league table.


One of the most important things you can teach your children is to love reading and it needn’t cost anything but time to do. Find a subject they are interested in and then nurture it. Above all, make it fun.

And for something completely different to read, here’s an interview where I talk about serial killers:


Mark West said...

Excellent blog, Shaun and I agree wholeheartedly. My son, who's 5, just moved into the top reading group in his year (he's the only one in his class) and he loves reading (plus I read to him every night).

Shaun said...

Thanks, Mark. And glad to hear your son is doing well too. I think if you can instil a love of reading at an early age then it will last a lifetime. It helps to find subjects that kids are into, whether it be dinosaurs, cooking, clothes whatever. There will be a book out there somewhere that caters to it.

Phil N. Schipper said...

So currently, kids read one or two books a year, but the goal is 50? I agree that they could stand to read more, but 50 sounds a little high to me. That means a book a week, which is completely doable for some, but hardly a fair standard.

I'm still in high school myself, actually, and my class has to go through a book every two or three weeks. To me, that's an easy enough task that hardly intrudes on my busy lifestyle.

Shaun said...

Yes, 50 might be a little high but some of the younger children's books are not that long, so I would say between 20 and 30 would be good.

Nick Harris said...

Hey Shaun, great post. Thought I'd let you know that my new horror blog is back up and running at Hope you'll follow.