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Teachers 'giving up on longer books'

17th May 2011

Teachers are increasingly introducing shorter books into class because boys do not have the attention span to read longer novels, new research has found.

A poll of 500 UK secondary school teachers, carried out by Pearson, revealed that more than half of pupils aged between 11 and 14 are 'reluctant' to read, with books longer than 200 pages seen as particularly off-putting.

This has led many teachers to change their approach to English lessons and instead focus on shorter books, at the expense of classics by authors such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

The statistics have been met with concern by many authors, with Frank Cottrell Boyce claiming that the UK faces a 'national catastrophe' if the next generation of schoolchildren does not enjoy reading.

He told the Daily Telegraph a problem for many boys may be that they are being forced to focus on extracts from longer texts for the sake of study, rather than being encouraged to enjoy the novel in full.

'In an attempt to tackle literacy they are taking the joy out of reading. I don't think there is any virtue in ticking off books. Boys need a story that they can enjoy,' the author added
 

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