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Books still have a place in school

There were a number of inaccuracies in relation to the work of the national strategies in your articles last week on English teaching and the teaching of reading ("No need to read books", TES, October 20).

The secondary national strategy does not promote the use of extracts in preference to whole texts in the teaching of reading. Instead, we advocate a balanced approach based on a clear analysis of what good readers do and need to know, and a strong commitment to developing pupils' enthusiasm, independence and self-confidence as readers.

The classroom use of whole texts and extracts both have a place in this balance. The study of whole texts is clearly required in current national curriculum orders and this has been explicitly reflected in the frameworks and guidance offered to schools from the strategy's English programme since 2001.

Successful readers know about the enjoyment, insight and understanding to be gained from the reading of whole texts. The national strategies are about making sure all students can gain the skills and experiences which make them successful readers.

Peter Walker. National director Secondary National Strategy Reading

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