What gives kids good reading and language skills? A couple of articles have been languishing in my in-box for a few days. Jean Gross, the Government’s first speech chief, told the Times last week that the next generation lack basic speaking skills because parents now spend less time talking to their children over family meals or reading them bedtime stories. She also blamed an over-emphasis on literacy and numeracy teaching in schools at the expense of language training and wants GP surgeries to play DVDs of adults reading to children and interacting with babies to teach parents how to talk to their offspring.
In similar vein, Book Trust reports on a survey of over 3,000 parents, carers and children in the UK which showed that 3% of parents and carers never or rarely read with their children. For those who do, just one in three read with their children on a daily basis and half of the children spent more time in front of a TV or computer screen than they did reading. More encouragingly 96% of all children surveyed said that they enjoyed reading and the top 3 favourite characters were Harry Potter, Horrid Henry and Tracy Beaker. The Book Trust page above has a link to the full results and the BBC also covered the story.