From reluctance to readers: free will is the way

20th May 2011 at 01:00

I have read everything from War and Peace to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, from Ovid (in Latin) to JK Rowling but I've never read Of Mice and Men. Why? Because my well-intentioned English teacher forced me to read The Red Pony and The Pearl. I hated them and I'm never going to read John Steinbeck again for as long as I live ("By approval of the ministry", page 3, 6 May).

If being forced to read something has given a child who loved to read a hatred that is still with her 30 years later, think what effect it would have on children who are already reluctant to pick up a book.

As a teacher I have succeeded in turning children on to books by reading them little snippets from ones I thought they might enjoy, and then allowing them to choose whether or not they read the book.

With this proposal the Government can turn them into children who have read some books. Given the freedom to exercise our professional judgement, we teachers can turn them into readers.

Sally-Jayne Braisby, Via email.

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