The BBC ran this story on 4th October: reading is on the decrease, despite the lauded rise of the e-book; and one in five of our children would be embarrassed to be caught with a book. “Caught with”? You are caught with cigarettes by your parents; caught with stolen goods by the police; caught with drugs by customs.
You are not caught with books. They should be a staple part of everyone’s equipment along with their house keys, mobile and a pen. And I’m not just talking about school children.
Apparently, according to the article, since 2005, the percentage of children reading outside school fell from 33% to 25% in 2013; and, even more worryingly,
“About the same number said they did not think their parents cared if they read.”
So what can be done?
The National Literacy Trust is seeking literacy heroes to champion a love of reading and books.
Who would be your literacy hero? Who turned you on to reading? For me, perhaps, my mum who was always reading (although, looking back, with very different set of books); maybe a succession of English teachers, especially Mr Moore – Hubert Moore – of Cranbrook School who allowed me to do my A-level English Literature on T. S. Eliot when the rest of the class wanted to do Sylvia Plath!
Turn to your own children, parents of Britain! Be your child’s own literacy and reading hero! Take them, hand in hand, along the lines and lanes, words and woods you loved at their age! Read in front of them. Read to them. Read with them. Listen to them read! Whether they are pre-readers, novice readers or recalcitrant teenagers show them that there are things to broaden their minds and world view beyond the television screen.
#fridayreads on twitter and pages like Coffee And A Good Book on Facebook do help promote reading – as, in some small way, might my own Book Readers’ Sanctuary blog; teachers who model and are seen reading will help – especially male teachers – but it’s often too late by then!
Parents have to inculcate the habit and give time for reading at home and take kids to the library