On the bizarre return of Janet and John

7th September 2007 at 01:00
As education seems to be run these days using the "being seen to be doing something" method (never mind if it is any good or not), the suggestion that children be galvanised to improve their reading skills by the reintroduction of Janet and John is a truly bizarre idea.

Leaving aside the stereotypical characters, the stultifying text, the lack of phonetic material, the formulaic and drab illustrations and father's pipe smoking, gardening persona, there doesn't seem to me much mileage for the child brought up on computer graphics and modern stories. Indeed, children's reading material has never been more rich in content and presentation.

Perhaps it needs revamping so that the new leading characters will be "Sharon and Wayne", although for those who may have fond memories of the original, "Run, Sharon, Run" doesn't have the same ring and probably means Wayne has more on his mind than John ever dreamed of.

Tony Roberts

Retired headteacher, Preston

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