Would a competent reader choose to read a page of a book, or part of an article, without being allowed to extract the sense, fun or interest from it? What bigger de-motivator can there be?
Children need to be taught the purpose of reading, not just the mechanics.
There is still an enormous need for high-interest, low-reading-age books divided into short meaningful chapters, or short enough to read completely.
Children's interests change rapidly. It is no good presenting children hooked on the The X Files or EastEnders with Biff and Chip. Schools think nothing of spending Pounds 1,500 on computers. Next year, how about Pounds 1,500 on books, and have a clear-out?
I run a centre for excluded pupils, many of whom have failed to master "the code" not because they can't, but because no one has reached them. They choose other ways to raise their self-esteem and, even more, to cover their inadequacies.
BECKY DURSTON Parsonage Farm Barnston Great Dunmow Essex