4 Oct 2009

Picture Books 'Lose Out To Exams'.

Traditional picture books are disappearing from schools as reading for pleasure takes a back seat to exam revision, according to a leading author.

Anthony Browne, the Children's Laureate, said there was an increasing focus on more serious novels at a young age as parents and teachers attempted to boost children's reading skills.

He said it risked "devaluing" a number of books - such as WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak and Julia Donaldson's GRUFFALO - which children find "hugely enjoyable".

Next week the Booktrust charity's Children's Book Week will be based on the theme 'words and pictures'. Browne said: "Picture books have been marginalised in recent years. It may be driven by the focus on children passing tests".

"Parents also try to get their children to read more serious books from a younger age. But there is a danger that children can lose their enjoyment of reading if they are pushed on to books they're not ready for."

Source: The Daily Telegraph.


Kelly said...

Over here it's gotten where teachers "teach to the test" in an effort to score well on standardized exams. I understand needing to meet certain standards, but I think it's gotten carried away.

I think trying to "up" kids' reading skills by taking away fun picturebooks is a proposal that will end up backfiring.

Btw.... I really like your new look here, too!

chitra said...

Here in India a small percentge of people like to spend on childrens' books thinking that its a waste and later mope about developing lang. skills. Even when I got some story books for my neighbour's son he has not opened them yet as the habit is not cultivated at all.

Petty Witter said...

Kelly: As in the US, we also tend to teach to the test. In fact it's gotten so bad that children are becoming more and more limited as to choosing what they want to read, they now have more books that they are told to read. To me you are far more likely to get (and keep) children reading if they are reading something that interests them.

Chitra: May I ask if books for children have never been popular and what about books for adults?

Melissa (My World) said...

I always thought part of the fun in picture books was kind of adding to the story, being creative and making more to the stop than you see. That is part of what kids need, to be creative. I like watching and listening to what stories they make. That is part of the fun. I still like to do that once in a while, okay maybe more that once in a while.

Petty Witter said...

Me too, Melissa. Whilst working in the school, puppets and other props were always part of the fun.

La Coccinelle said...

That's sad. Picture books are fun!

Finland may be on to something, anyway. They don't teach kids to read until they're about seven... and yet their literacy rate is near 100%.