Reading for pleasure is declining among primary-age pupils, and increasing numbers of “time poor” parents are dropping the ritual of sharing bedtime stories with their children once they start school. This is from the Guardian…
Research presented to the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield last week found that, while parents read to pre-schoolers, this later tails off, and by the final year of primary school only around 2% read to their children every day. Once children can read competently, parents tend to step back, and this usually happens at the age of seven or eight.
The report, entitled Is Children’s Reading a Casualty of Modern Life?, also found that 82% of teachers blame the government’s “target-driven” education policies for the fact that fewer children are reading for pleasure.
They believe that a “straitjacket” of regimented schooling is squeezing young people’s ability to read more widely. Two-thirds of teachers polled said they lacked time in the school day to introduce a variety of books and that this was a “major barrier to being able to develop a level of reading”.
Teachers also cited as contributory factors the reduction in the number of school librarians, who could put interesting books before children, and the rise in “screen time”, diverting children from reading to playing games.
The majority of teachers said the curriculum’s “emphasis on reading as a skill to be mastered” was “cranking up the pressure”. This was compounded by parents who saw reading just as a focus of learning, a skill critical to career advancement in a competitive world.
Do you agree that primary aged pupils are reading less than in the past? What’s one thing that could be done to change this?