School tests ‘kill joy of reading’

The BBC is reporting that too much testing in schools risks killing the joy of reading for children, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo will say in a lecture later.

Schools are being pressured into “teaching literacy fearfully”, Mr Morpurgo will tell an audience of publishers and educationalists.

More rigorous primary tests sparked parent protests in England this year. At the time, ministers argued that the tests boost educational standards and need not be stressful.

But Mr Morpurgo says testing is “supposed to encourage” both those who pass and those who fail, but he will tell the inaugural Book Trust Annual Lecture at London’s Guildhall that this is not the case.

“When you fail it brings only a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness.

“It brings fear and shame and anxiety.

“It separates you from those who have passed, rocks confidence, ruins self-esteem.”

More at: School tests ‘kill joy of reading’

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  1. LearntSchool

    SchoolsImprove As a ‘straight A’ student, I (sadly) didn’t understand literature = art. Novels seem only to be written for us to analyse!

  2. LearntSchool SchoolsImprove Sadly, that’s often the case.  Analysis can trump enjoyment.  Stories, even when read to little ones, are seen first and foremost as exercises where pupils can spot ‘connecting words’ and adverbs.
    That said, knowing how an author writing effectively can increase enjoyment.  But the enjoyment must come first or pupils will be reluctant to try anything challenging.  And writing effectively comes with practice and playing with language.  Not much time for such playing in planning for the test.

  3. What a shame that Michael Mopurgo has to call for mandatory ‘story time’ at the end of each day.   This used to be a common feature of primary schools.  It didn’t need to be mandated – it was valued and valuable.
    Reading to pupils remains just as important in the secondary years.  The most proficient reader in the class is likely to be the teacher.  When a teacher reads aloud, then s/he can introduce books which might be beyond the reading ability of the class.  Reading aloud was an important part of my repertoire: in English, in tutorials, in assemblies.  I loved it – and so did my pupils.  Some of my most treasured memories are having a class so enthralled in a story I am reading that they beg me to finish even after the break bell has sounded.  That is love of reading – not reading for a test.

  4. How was it that my grandparents, my parents, myself and my children – and their generations – learned to read and write without the obsessive national testing required by government today?  Our teachers knew what was required without the external strictures of today.  It is time for government to back off!  Trust teachers!

  5. thiskidsthinkin

    What is it with the government and testing? I’m convinced excessive testing is inhibiting actual learning!
    The love of reading comes from, well, reading! It doesn’t come from doing a test. It shouldn’t matter either what particular kind of book it is. When I was at school, reading a novel was a chore, but I’d sit and read a book about earthquakes or similar for hours. 
    Don’t get me wrong, I do read novels, but prefer non-fiction to fiction most of the time (except alternative history novels,I devour them).

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