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Tell them the whole story

The recent announcement by Ofsted that "reading for pleasure is in decline"

will come as no surprise to those who have long criticised the narrow focus of the national literacy strategy.

It is inevitable that concentrating on word and sentence-level work will result in pupils gaining little sense of the whole text they are working from.

In the words of one 11-year-old "we never see anything through or get the chance to finish an interesting story". Reading is about understanding the context, not just the nuts and bolts.

Until we encourage and enable pupils to explore the creative aspects of language, both written and spoken, we will cut them off from the more enjoyable aspects of reading.

John Wadsworth. Lecturer in early childhood education Goldsmiths College London

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