Anthony Horowitz urges parents not to force their children to read
THIS MAY sound counter-intuitive, but leading children’s writer Anthony Horowitz says that parents should not force their children to read. But Mr Horowitz, author of the bestselling Alex Rider action-adventure series, says there is a logic to his argument: putting too much pressure on children to read is likely to turn them off it in the long-term.
He tells People: “Children will lose their desire to read if you keep on beating them around the head with a desire to read, and the idea that if they don’t, they will be failures later in life. You are achieving nothing.”
Mr Horowitz’s comments come as children’s reading habits face increasing media scrutiny. The recently published Primary Review, carried out by Cambridge University, reports that gains in reading skills at primary schools, through the national literacy strategy, have been achieved at the expense of pupils’ enjoyment of reading.
“Reading is all about enthusiasm,” says Mr Horowitz. “If you share enthusiasm with a child, whether it’s books, archery or mountain-climbing, the chances are pretty high that they will come to share this enthusiasm with you later in life.”
He advises parents to read with their children at home for pleasure. “The government, schools and society can only do so much. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes before bedtime, reading will enter the blood.”
He says he has serious concerns about children’s reading ability. “Young children unable to read are a disastrous failure. The government is throwing money at the problem with no results.” Mr Horowitz’s latest book is Snakehead (Walker Books)