Opinion Former Article

NUT: Reading for Pleasure

Delegates at the NUT conference in Liverpool debated today (Saturday) the importance of instilling a love of reading in children, and an agreement to affiliate to the Campaign for the Book, Christine Blower General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union said;

"It is hardly a surprise that many children regard reading as a chore, when an over prescriptive curriculum, the focus on SATs and the inevitable teaching to the test leave little time in the classroom to cultivate a love of reading.

"Reading for pleasure should be a core part of a young person's education. Pupils should be allowed to develop in a way that is not hindered by an overdependence upon reading schemes, or simply looking at excerpts from books which can at times be restrictive and unappealing, particularly to less confident readers".

"Research* has shown how developing a love of reading is important for children's life chances. I am delighted that the NUT is now affiliated to the Campaign for the Book. We will work enthusiastically alongside authors and publishers to promote reading for pleasure in society and our schools as well as defend public libraries and librarians from spending cuts."

In a speech to the Conference, the author Alan Gibbons warned that "reading for pleasure is being squeezed by relentless testing" and denounced the "ludicrous SATs" regime. He said that there was currently a statutory requirement for libraries in prisons and a similar requirement was now needed in schools. Mr Gibbons went on to say that supporting the Campaign for the Book and the promotion of libraries both in and out of school is essential. Many are in serious decline leaving children and young people without the resources needed for learning, particularly for those from poorer backgrounds

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