Thursday, 9 July 2015

Recent news, reports and articles about children’s and young people’s reading

childrens-book-week-2015posters-chris-riddellIt’s Children’s Book Week, promoted beautifully by new Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, so an excellent time for one of my periodic round-ups of children’s reading news and articles.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the latest National Literacy Trust report on children’s and young people’s reading is full of important data. There is much to celebrate, in particular that reading for enjoyment, which we know to be vital for literacy attainment, is rising. There are causes for concern too, for example nearly one child in four thinks their parents don’t care if they read and the gender gap in reading enjoyment has increased.

The Read On, Get On campaign has warned that the poorest children in the UK, particularly boys, lag behind in language skills and without interventions might never catch up. This has big implications for literacy.

‘Why your reading, as a teacher, makes a difference to your pupils’ is a useful article by Jane Jackson of BookSpace. I certainly agree with her message: we must value every child’s individual interests and choices.

I was also interested in this piece about how a US school got everyone excited about reading by jettisoning their reading programme. Every teacher and every student was set a simple goal: read twenty books in one semester. ‘Any book. Any kind. If you hate the book — STOP READING IT.’

Do have a look at this too: ‘Would you censor a child’s reading?’ It’s valuable and thought-provoking, as this snippet demonstrates: ‘Are our concerns logical, or simply knee-jerk outrage?’

I very much like school librarian Caroline Roche’s slideshow for 6th formers on the importance of fiction (even for mathematicians).

Amanda Craig caught my eye with an article on what she calls (rightly, in my view) the present golden age of children’s literature. Her comparisons with previous such ages are very illuminating. I love her contention that children’s books ‘give a child a lever with which to prise open the world’.

Lastly, I came across another great quote just today, from teenage novelist Keith Gray: ‘Books are for life, not just for homework.’ Absolutely!