Reading crushed by 'relentless testing'

9th April 2010 at 01:00

Teachers need to be rebellious and "steal back" time in the school day to read to their classes and allow children to read to themselves, a conference has heard.

Delegates at the NUT conference heard that the tradition of teachers reading whole books to their classes was being squeezed out by Sats cramming classes, with disadvantaged pupils suffering the most.

Kieran Baker, a teacher in east London, told the conference: "Being read to does have an impact on children's attainment.

"They learn ambitious vocabulary and punctuation markings much more than they would from a worksheet. It's essential that high-quality shared reading has a place in our classrooms."

"We have to steal back that time to read. If we don't have reading in school, who will suffer most? If pupils don't have books at home they need their schools to encourage reading for pleasure."

Jane Walton, from Wakefield, who donned a pair of yellow, fluffy bunny ears to get her point across, added: "I love my interactive whiteboard, when it's working, but it would never replace the book."

Delegates also condemned the growing number of school and public library closures and the loss of trained librarians in schools.

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