Books for fun: not a dewy-eyed dream

14th February 2003 at 00:00
THREE cheers for your letter, Alan Gibbons (TES, January 31)! For some years many of us have been concerned that reading for pleasure has been neglected in favour of restrictive literacy exercises.

My long experience as a chartered school librarian is that if you can excite pupils with well-written books their literacy skills and achievement in other areas of school life will benefit.

Mr Gibbons recommends qualified librarians within school libraries and reading at the heart of the curriculum. This concept seems to have escaped the Department for Education and Skills in its recent consultative documents concerning the appointment of additional support staff in our schools.

An opportunity is being missed to appoint more qualified school librarians to our schools.

The value of promoting the love of reading and books is validated by recent research. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's survey Reading for Change looks at literacy among 15-year-olds and suggests that improving reading proficiency could have a strong impact on achievement and bring about social change.

The researchers also found that children from the most deprived backgrounds performed better in tests than those from more affluent homes if they enjoyed reading in their spare time.

Yes, it is imperative that our pupils are computer literate but for many pupils this is unattainable until they achieve a certain level of higher-order skills to enable them to use the internet to its full potential.

What better way than as teachers and librarians working together to encourage them to read and enjoy books.

Helen Pallett


Lowdham Road

Gunthorpe, Nottingham

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