GOVERNMENT efforts to put books into schools are wasted unless teachers are trained as part of the package, professional book-lovers agreed this week.
Literacy experts, librarians and publishers called for compulsory children's literature courses for students training to teach at primary and secondary level.
The current patchy coverage of this area (although there are some centres of excellence such as Roehampton Institute, London and Homerton College, Cambridge) means teachers graduate with knowledge already out of date.
Prue Goodwin, director of in-service training and the Reading and Language Information Centre, based at the University of Reading, said:"To offer motivation and guidance you have to keep up your own interest. You have to know the books and understand how to use them.
The result, she said, was a missing link in "the magic triangle of book, experienced reader and child".
She was disappointed that the importance of getting to know good children's books had not featured in training for literacy hour although it had rated a brief mention in the trainers' materials.