An­thony Horowitz urges par­ents not to force their chil­dren to read

The Jewish Chronicle - - People -

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)

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