The Education Secretary Michael Gove thinks children should be reading 50 books a year. Nothing wrong with that in principle. There have been heated discussions about library cuts, quality v quantity and and the danger of turning books into numbers. As a mother of two boys, I think maybe we should all just relax and allow our children to develop their love for books naturally. Well, maybe with a tiny nudge when required. As a challenge, Gove’s idea might work for some. Kids do love a challenge and a game. But with the whole ‘should’ attitude we run the risk of putting our children off books for a very long time, if not for life.
I have always read a lot and this year I have challenged myself to read one short story a day. But there have been years when I read less than usual. I spent more time thinking, or writing, or just watching the telly. There was one Chrismas that my fiance and I spent on the sofa, watching five or six seasons of 24 all at once.
Some people will always read. Others will prefer sports, or films, or the new popular hobby of socialising. And no amount of challenges will make them love books. Our job as parents and teachers is to make literature available, whether it’s in the libraries, at school, at home or on the Internet. If we enjoy books, our children probably will.

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Author: Maia Nikitina

Writer, reviewer, blogger.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. Couldn't agree more. Forcing children to read when they are just not ready for it is counter productive. My two did enjoy the library 'monster reading' reward scheme, (especially the £15 worth of book tokens they each ended up with!), but most of Gabe's books at the time we read together. It's only now that he's really going out after books himself, and I'm sure he wouldn't be doing that if he'd been forced before.

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  2. Hey Sarah! I did wonder for a split second when Hatty had managed to acquire two kids:)I'm glad you agree. And I think this could be extended to writing too. My boys have always seen me either reading or writing something and to them it's the most natural thing in the world. Stephane has dozens of notebooks full of his own writing and he even won a prize – and £100! – last year. And Christian recently made a book of his own, about our cat Boris.

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