Schools risk putting children off reading forever, says Frank Cottrell Boyce
29th October 2012 - 10:54am
A whole generation of schoolchildren risks being put off reading for life because of pedestrian and task-based approaches to literacy, Frank Cottrell Boyce, who last week won the Guardian's Children's Fiction Prize, has said.
Cottrell Boyce, who won the prize for The Unforgotten Coat, based on the true story of a failed asylum seeker, told the Guardian tests can make pupils feel like failures before they have even begun.
The writer said he learned to read slowly and knew other children who hadn't read a line until they were seven years old. 'It doesn't make any difference,' he explained.
'What does make a difference is if on the way to reading you've had two years of people telling you you're c**p, you are never going to read for pleasure.'
Cottrell Boyce, who helped devise the Olympic opening ceremony with Danny Boyle, said testing children in the early years of primary school was ineffective because it means they feel like failures when they have barely begun.
Reading for pleasure is the most important marker of whether a child will do well, he said. 'I think the massive thing is for pleasure, because it's when you read for pleasure that things stay with you.'