Another call to arms today. Can I gee-up some primary school boys who – guess what ?– aren’t reading. I told the long-suffering Deputy Head that I’ll do my best but boy, this is an uphill battle. The help of local footballers has already been called in but truthfully, one can’t imagine that getting children rubbing shoulders with celebrities is going to have a lasting impact on a lifetime’s indifference to books or reading matter of any kind. And observing that these men don’t read will almost certainly compound the problem.
As a little challenge or competition recently, boys in the school were asked to provide a photo of any men reading … anything. After three weeks – there were no results. Not a chap with a newspaper or shopping list in sight.
And to think that people got burnt at the stake for translating the bible into a language that ordinary people could understand. Henry VIII and his line recognised that reading=power. The present Defenders of the Faith, the corporations, the media-tycoons , the mass-marketeers: they, too, thrive on their understanding of that equation.
What can a poor parent or a teacher do for a non-reader? Be seen to be enjoying a book for a start.