This week, Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, was appointed Children’s Laureate. (I would give you a link, but Word Press’s new links system seems to object to that.)
She talked about libraries, and bookschemes and so on in her acceptance speech. The accompanying news broadcast talked about how many children barely read, and how thousands of children never read a book outside the classroom.
That’s hard to fathom. I thought reading had become fashionable, what with the Harry Potter and Twilight and Alex Rider series being top sellers. It’s not like when I was a kid, when reading was what the nerdy kids did. I couldn’t imagine how and why children ended up never reading.
But I used to work in a library. I remember a little girl coming in once and asking to take out a book. Her mother replied that she couldn’t be bothered to read her a book, and they would get a DVD instead.
I guess that’s how some children never learn the joy of books – because their parents see teaching them to read as a chore.
Dear parents – it may be a chore. But never mind the wonderful stories you and they will discover together. Never mind the things they will learn and the amazing adventures they will go on through books. Never mind how vastly reading improves their language and their intelligence.
Just think of this – once your kids have learnt to read, just give them a good book and a comfy placed to read, and they’ll be quiet for hours.
Surely a good reason for any parent to teach their child to read!