Friday, 1 November 2013

Latest reading news

The last few weeks have seen a plethora of reports, articles and news about children’s and young people’s reading. Here’s a round-up.

Results of the controversial phonics test are out. Apparently nearly a third of six-year-olds struggle with reading. Girls significantly outperform boys.

There has been lots of news coverage about England’s young people trailing most other countries in literacy.

A new survey shows 60% of children read books for pleasure but the number of keen readers is decreasing, especially among over 11s. Books are losing out to apps, games and YouTube. We also learn that lack of ‘quiet time’ is having a negative effect on children’s reading.

The annual survey of children’s reading from the National Literacy Trust is always very informative. Key findings from 2012 include:

  • Enjoyment and frequency of reading are correlated to reading attainment.
  • Children are reading less than in recent years even though the proportion that enjoy reading has not changed much.
  • Children who read less frequently also read for less time when they do read.
  • Boys enjoy reading less than girls and read significantly less.
  • Children on free school meals read less and enjoy it less than their peers, though the gap is narrowing.
  • Reading of almost all formats and all types of materials has gone down over the last few years, with the exception of text and social networking messages and e-books.

The Institute of Education has found that early literacy support closes the gender and poverty divide, and keeps it closed.

Neil Gaiman has made a passionate plea for reading for pleasure. He urged adults not to ‘discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is the gateway drug to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.’ He also gave a rallying cry for libraries.

The Society of Authors has produced a valuable report on impact of author visits on reading for pleasure.

There’s an interesting piece on the Guardian Teacher Network about the need for teachers to read more children’s books.

Booktrust has new tips for bedtime reading.

Save the Children aims to transform the literacy and life-chances of over 23,000 disadvantaged children by the end of 2017, through their new Born to Read programme with Beanstalk.

This is an inspiring story of one librarian’s struggles to read.

Malorie Blackman has exciting plans for a UK young adult literature convention. (Lovely to hear that Blackman now tops the list of the UK’s most influential black figures.)

The British Library has what sounds a fascinating exhibition about children’s book illustration.

Did you know children’s book readings are increasingly popular at weddings? (I loved reading from Winnie the Pooh at one recently.)

And last but not least the delightful picture. Childcare arrangements fell down for a delegate on a recent course. Her baby gave everyone a wonderful demonstration of the value of books and reading.