World book day can help battle against child illiteracy says Sheffield Headteacher

2 March 2017

A Headteacher of  a Sheffield Primary School said that parents are key in tackling illiteracy in England.

Chis Stewart, Headteacher of Hallam Primary School said that ‘the world book day initiative needs to be followed up at home if children are going to increase their standards of reading on a national scale.’

Mr Stewart said: ‘children who read regularly in an environment where reading is fun rather than a chore are the ones who will continue to read for pleasure in adulthood.’

According to charity The Reading Agency only 26% of 10 year-old’s enjoy reading in England, compared to 46% of children the same age in Portugal, 42% in Georgia and 35% in Romania.

English literature Professor at the University of Sheffield, Sue Vice, said: ‘I’d like to think children aren’t reading less, I suppose they are just doing it in different ways, it’s the act of reading that’s vital.’

She added ‘kindles and technology are positive steps, if it gets children into reading in a format that suits them.’

The Reading Agency found 36% of adults don’t read for pleasure in England, a figure which rises to 44% for people aged 16-24 and only 41% of 11-15 year-olds read outside of school time.

Librarian at Highfield Library’s children centre, Becky Jones, believes reading starts at home more than school and stated there is a new initiative coming soon called ‘bath story and then bed’ which is encouraging children to read as part of a daily routine at home.

Professor Sue Vice said ‘libraries are really important; we’ve got to keep campaigning to keep them open.’

Becky Jones said book groups with children at the library has been a success and has seen children who are usually shy become very chatty.

Professor Sue Vice supports this idea and believes book clubs will allow ‘children to discover the genres they love.’

The Reading Agency discovered that 16 year-old’s who choose to read for pleasure are more likely to secure managerial or professional jobs in later life.

Written by Joseph Taysom

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