30 Mar 2011


Not something new to Husband dearest or myself - we took our dog, Peg, on many a children's residential holiday and found her a great part of the team as upset, home-sick children often sought comfort in her big brown eyes, knowing that whatever secret they whispered into her ears would go no further.

Anyway onto my post about children reading.

LISTENING DOGS. When children read to Danny and Batman they do not criticise or correct pronunciation. They merely pick up their ears, sometimes close their eyes, and act as if they are not listening.
Yes, Danny and Batman are greyhounds, 'Listening dogs' who help children overcome their fear of reading. - BBC News (02/03/2011)

I cannot think of a time when I didn't have a book in my hand and though I was never forced in to reading a book at the same time I was always challenged as to what I might enjoy, as to what might hold my interest, as to what might stimulate me to further investigate the huge world that was literature. Shocking than to think .....

FALL IN READING STANDARDS AS CHILDREN OPT FOR 'EASY' BOOKS. Reading standards are in sharp decline as pupils opt for easy books in school and at home, according to a report.
By the end of primary education, pupils start to ignore relatively difficult texts in favour of more straightforward alternatives suitable for younger children.
It emerged The Hungry Caterpillar, a classic picture book by Eric Carle was one of the most popular books among 14 to 16-year-old girls in England (It's target audience is 1+) - The Telegraph (03/03/2011)

Also included in this article (which can be seen in full by clicking on the link above) are the top 5 books enjoyed by today's adults when they were teenagers and, in brackets the top 5 books enjoyed by the teenagers of today.

  1. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend. (The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling)
  2. The Lord of The rings by JRR Tolkein (The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer)
  3. Novels by Stephen King (The Lord Of The Rings by JRR Tolkein)
  4. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams (The Da Vinci code by Dan Brown)
  5. The James bond novels by Ian Fleming/ 1984 by George Orwell (The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams.)
Hmm, not too bad, there is only The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and the James bond novels that I have yet to read.

Ebooks are becoming more and more popular not just amongst us adults but amongst younger readers, children even - though alas not with this blogger who still prefers the feel AND smell of a real book, a book like The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson - which is why I'm pleased to hear Julia say

I WON'T LET THEM TURN MY GRUFFALO INTO AN EBOOK. the best selling author Julia Donaldson, whose rhyming picture books dominate top 10 lists, has revealed that she vetoed an ebook version of her most famous title, The Gruffalo, because she thinks interactive book apps for children are a bad idea.
She sees the practical advantages of digital publishing in terms of portability and storage. But she feels that time spent reading books is valuable, and that we spend much of our lives plugged into screens and headphones already.
"The publishers showed me an ebook of Alice in Wonderland. They said, 'Look, you can press buttons and do this and that', and they showed me the page where Alice's neck gets longer. There's a button the child can press to make the neck stretch, and I thought, well, if the child's doing that, they are not going to be listening or reading, 'I wish my cat Dinah was here' or whatever it says in the text – they're just going to be fiddling with this wretched button." - Susanna Rustin, The Guardian (26/03/2011)

Whilst discussing this with Hd, himself an avid reader though where The Gruffalo stands in his affections I don't actually know, he made the following point which just about sums it up for me .....

"It all depends on whether we believe imagination should be supplied or developed."

It's not all bad news though, despite it all research has shown ........

Two-thirds of adults go to sleep after reading the equivalent of six and a half pages of a standard-sized paperback - managing around 2,134 words on average before becoming too tired to read on. - The Telegraph (03/03/2011)

So, what are your views? How many of the books listed have you read, which did you like/dislike? What do you think of teenagers taking the easy option? Ebooks - love them/hate them, are they a good idea for children?


Lilly said...

I have a game on my Nintendo DS called 100 books to read before you die, or something lie that. I figured it would be easier to take that with me on planes and holidays and stuff, instead of going over my baggage allowance by bringing real books. And also I would save some money. Thing is though, I've only used it to read two or three of the books on it, I don't like to use it to read, like you I like the feel and smell of a proper book between my hands.
I think Ebooks are bad for children, lie your husband I think imagination should be developed instead of supplied, but on the other hand it might be good with Ebooks to get children interested in a book...
I find it strange that people fall asleep when reading, I usually become more awake because I want to find out what happens, I have stayed up all night reading before because I've not been able to put a book down.

Lilly said...

apparently my k doesn't want to work in the word liKe... just noticed. :P

Misha said...

I was never able to get the hype around Twilight. I disliked it so much! However I LOVE Lord of the Rings, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and Harry Potter.
I have read Ebooks, but I still prefer printed versions. Nothing can ever beat holding the book in your hands and being able to turn the pages.

GMR said...

Aww...Peg sounds like she was such a comfort to those children. I've actually heard of listening dogs before....a wonderful idea. As for the fall in standards, I wonder how accurate that report is seeing as how many adults opt for children's and young adult titles (myself included) nowadays as a lighter reading escape, not simply because it's "easier" ...and some of them, not so easy! Even looking at the list....LOTR is not and "easy" read. I'm with you on the "real book". So much more enjoyable to me as well.

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

I think that's crazy the caterpillar book being popular in the 14-16. How is that challenging?

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Suko said...

Petty, it's good to know that teenagers are reading, and many of their choices are good ones.

Even though I have a blog and read many blogs, I really do not care for e-books. I prefer the real thing. And I think that children benefit much more from the "simplicity" of regular books.

naida said...

I'm not a fan of e-books myself. I prefer the real thing too.
Interesting about adults going to sleep after reading six and a half pages...it depends on how tired I am and on how good the book I'm reading is.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I think that easy access to an ebook is a good idea for kids. Perhaps they will be more curious to read. There is also a program here for kids to read to dogs. It has a big success rate too.

Kelly said...

I think e-books have their place and if that will get a kid to read, then all the better.

I haven't read a lot on the teenage list. Just the Twilight books and The Hobbit (not the trilogy). Oh, and I did go through a phase where I read lots of Stephen King. Also read the Da Vinci Code.

I was into historical fiction as a teen and read many Anya Seton books. If you haven't read her, you should!

Jenners said...

Oh I found this quite depressing.

themethatisme said...

"It all depends on whether we believe imagination should be supplied or developed and as long as there are more people who think money-making is more important than encouraging and developing it the 'suppliers' will win."...is what I said.
Politics dear...politics.

chitra said...

Children should not be encouraged to read e- books. It may strain their eyes . Agree with what your Hd has said imagination should be developed not supplied.

awitchtrying said...

I think I read Tolkien for the first time in middle-school. I do love the Harry Potter series and a few of the others. I agree with the thought that imagination needs to be developed. It needs to be fostered and encouraged and kids really do spend far too much time staring at screens.

Short Poems said...

"imagination should be developed not supplied" Sooo true!

Have a great weekend ahead,Petty
Lots of love

purplume said...

I am in favor of e-books.
Of the ten books listed I have read all the HP, don't like vampires or Lord of the Rings am too frightened by a lot of Stephen Kings work and am sadly out of touch.