Primary Reading Lists - #govemustgo

Phil Allman's picture
Today saw the latest in absurd ideas from the DfE thinktank that is Gove. The idea that there should be a prescribed list of books for primary age children is the final straw of ill thought out policies. If you support the idea that creativity is the preserve of the individual, this must be resisted!

#govemustgo has been the twitter hashtag running since around midday. The anger at yet another policy of the worst kind is palpable. Tweet using it and get it trending. We need to voice our anger at such a proposal!
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Tracy Hannigan's picture
Sun, 08/05/2011 - 20:15

My son has been reading for more than half of his six years in this world. We have a pretty egalitarian/cooperative relationship based on the relationship we have cultivated with one another rather than the 'power arrangement' that is sometimes leveraged by parents upon children. Despite this strong, basic relationship he resists when I strongly (and even sometimes subtly !) suggest he read something. I may want him to diversify and try X, but he is happy to read A, B, Y, C, and Z. If I try to push it, he shuts down and wants to stop reading altogether. Later, I'll find him laying on his bed or sitting at his window - reading something he enjoys, giggling out loud, making a note, or calling to me to ask a question about what something means. That is much more valuable to him (and, selfishly, to me) than being able to tick some list of books chosen by someone who doesn't know his aptitude or ability.

He was allowed to explore in libraries and bookshops, allowed to choose what interested him, allowed to delve more deeply into the topics that he liked - which naturally developed into conversations, questions, discussions, and sometimes (and sometimes not) related learning activities.

I cannot imagine what it would have been like to tell him, from the beginning 'this is what you need to read' - it may not have piqued his interest or curiosity and may have squashed what turned into a passion for reading.

I volunteer doing guided reading with the children - of vastly differing abilities - and it is the same with all of them. They are drawn to some things, not to others, depending upon their own unique personalities and interests. I try to select books that will advance them for them from amongst the ones they choose or have neat covers or titles which are interesting. Trying to 'convince' a child - any child but particularly one who has difficulty with the basics of english reading -- that he has to read 'something in particular' is the biggest way to turn off the potential love for books, reading and learning that I can imagine.

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