Monday, 22 February 2010

Maybe children "do not read" because

they are too busy doing other things?
"Well, there's ballet on Monday, basketball on Tuesday, Wednesday it is piano lesson, Thursdays I do swimming and Friday is Guides and then on Saturday mornings I have to play for the school team and Sundays we have to go and watch my brother play football." Phew! Wild social life. This is the weekly timetable of an eleven year old of my acquaintance. She goes to the local state primary school and her friends do much the same as she does. If they are not doing that then they are in 'after-school care' where, apart from homework, they are not expected or encouraged to sit and read. Doing that would be regarded as anti-social and questions would almost certainly be asked about social adjustment.
All this activity is designed to keep her busy and occupied and under the supervision of an adult at all times. When she is not doing those things she is busy doing homework, texting her friends and getting ready for the next exam or test or badge. It is all highly competitive. I thought she was exceptional - until I discovered that all but two of her classmates were similarly occupied. One of her teachers assured me that it was "pretty much normal" for local children in our "pretty much middle-class" area.
It does not leave much time for "just reading".


Old Kitty said...


Some better and hopeful figures from the same paper "Daily Telegraph"

In 10 years 16 million people borrowed the rather wonderful Jacqueline Wilson. 8 million borrowed Roald Dahl.

And of course the Potter books fared quite well. There are also really lovely links within this article to why Enid Blyton is still a bestseller etc...

And also in my blogging experience so far - there seems to be a lot of writers eager to write YA, children's books, picture books. Presumably these potential authors have done as the wonderful Nicola Morgan keeps stating and researched their market?

Here's to these millions of kids who do find the time to read.

Take care

Rachel Fenton said...

My daughter's school stipulates twenty minutes reading per day! They give sheets out to write the one book's title and there's a place for me to sign. There is not enough room for my daughter to write all the titles she has read in one day! Then there are the stories she does not read but which we invent together - she is the leading lady and those stories last for hours, sometimes days or even weeks! I think schools are a bit activity/sports mad!

Adelaide Dupont said...

Is there any opportunity to sneak a book or two in the glovebox, assuming that the travelling is by car?

Or maybe some functional reading could be done, like the street director and the car manual?

I'm sure the writers in the market are thinking about writing about kids who do all these activities. An Aussie Bites or a Go Girl would be good. And there is also Netball Starz.

catdownunder said...

It is, in one sense, not my problem because I do not have children and I am not directly responsible for educating any of them. Most of the children I see want to read - they visit to borrow from my personal library. It does bother me though because reading for the sheer joy of reading does seem to be happening less than before and I do wonder whether all the out-of-school activities which cut into reading time and other free choice of activity time are really necessary or desirable. I would rather see children working in the family business than being required to participate in seemingly endless competitive learning activities. It seems some of them are being directed from outside themselves all the time and not building the inner resources you get from reading and choosing your own adventures.