Tuesday, December 06, 2011

1 in 3 Children Without Books

The National Literacy Trust has done a survey of 18000 schoolchildren and discovered that 1 in 3 do not have any books of their own.

No doubt some will blame this on poverty, but I suspect that if the survey had also asked whether they owned any DVDs or computer games, it would have made an even better headline.

Now I can't find the comparable rates for other countries, but it's still pretty shocking stuff.


Anonymous said...

It can NOT be poverty ( of money that is ) . Books are possibly the most readily available free resource there is . Libraries are full of them . Charity shops too though you would have to pay all of 20p for some in those . Many are literally thrown away . Mostly if children do not have access to books it is down to attitude , their parents and their own .

Anonymous said...

I'm rarely speechless, rarely enough that I remember the occasions.

One was in about 1989 when I was in a shop with my cousin. I pointed at something ("Magician", by Raymond E. Feist, it was) and said "That's a good book".

His response was "I can't really see the point of reading books." This from a child of a father with a degree in mechanical engineering and a mother who was a state registered nurse and community midwife - poverty was not a factor there, nor was lack of education in the case of the parents. I literally had no idea how to respond, and it's stuck in my mind yea these more than twenty years.

Shrektheteacher said...

When I did my home visits for my Nursery class in September I was fairly shocked to find that only 3 out of 30 children had any books at home. There were mostly blank looks when I asked parents what their child's favourite book was!

However I have since discovered that the children aren't lagging behind in their early reading skills. They are picking up their initial word recognition from TV and the Internet. Their IT skills are generally 2 years ahead of expectation and they are using this channel very effectively to start reading. Maybe this is more effective than books? It certainly seems to be just as, if not more, engaging.

I was equally surprised to find that a few children can write their names on a computer but can barely hold a pencil! I think times are moving on, and that children will always have a huge thirst for learning. With the current rate of technological progress in the world, the vehicle for learning is unlikely to be the same as the generation that came before!

Boy on a bike said...

I'm with you - I find it shocking. We have more computers and laptops in the house than people, but that doesn't stop the kids from having over 10 metres of books in their bookcases (I gave up counting - I just measure them these days). Kids books are so damned cheap these days, and the selection is so much wider than what we had in our day. Having books is a choice thing - we choose not to have games consoles and 50 channels of pay TV and no more than one TV, and we limit computer time as well.

We have friends and family that swing the other way - no books, multiple TVs and games consoles and a DVD collection that puts many DVD rental shops to shame. However, it's telling that when their kids visit, they make a beeline for the kids room and pull out an armful of books, sit in the comfy armchair and read. And read. And read. And read. They're clearly starved for books, and I don't mind if they happen to borrow a few that never come back.

G Orwell said...

My children have no books.
I would buy them but because of people
like F Chalk who only release their books on the Kindle.
I have bought a Kindle and we use that instead.

Anonymous said...

In our household,we have many books, but for reference, the internet is irreplaceable, our books not being up to date. My grandson has, using the measure described elsewhere, around 3 metres of books. His fairy tales are a pale shadow of those I knew. Cleaned up, undemanding and over simplified. Many of mine were true morality tales, warning of the dangers of straying from the "good" path. Bring them back! Mind you,if parents can't or won't read to their children...........