Mission: Engender a love of reading.
A simple sounding mission that has been ongoing in schools forever! There are a number of reasons why people argue that this is 'the' most important mission. There are arguments that reading is a life skill and without the ability to read people will find it difficult to gain employment and live a 'normal' life.
The National Curriculum encourages teachers to read whole books with pupils in order for them to improve their grammar and knowledge of 'Standard English.' There are those people who argue that children need to develop a love for reading in order to access wonderful worlds, visit places and go on adventures that they may not have the opportunity to do in their everyday lives.
Another thing that the quotes don't tell us is that the books that some schools will send home may not be amazing, beautiful stories but rather dull and boring reading scheme books. Books without a plot, that have few words on a page and are functional skill delivery texts that do not inspire children. These books can lead to some children being put off reading altogether unless other amazing books are shared alongside the scheme books. Send home library books and great picture books alongside the reading scheme books.
It is a sad fact that in some households do not have many books. In some houses, the reading scheme book will be one of only a handful of books available and books or reading are often not seen as important in some homes. A recent UKLA survey showed that 25% of children agreed with the statement that their parents were not bothered if they read or not. There are many battles that we need to overcome in order to get children to enjoy reading. We need to ensure that we are supporting parents in order for them to share quality texts with their children.
Another problem with reading in schools is that as soon as we light the reading spark, we get children enjoying reading for reading's sake then we test them. We tell them that the reading they have been doing is not good enough, their reading ability is not where it should be and they need to get better at it. For those novice readers or reluctant readers this may just put out that tiny spark that was beginning to grow.
How can we get children to love reading and be confident with reading if the first thing we do is tell them that they are not good enough at it?
A couple more quotes extolling the wonder of reading: maybe we need some that tell them that it is tough too.