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Support call for East Lancashire teens reading
SCHOOL leaders have said support must continue for teenagers once they get to secondary schools to encourage them to pick up more challenging books.
It comes as a survey published for World Book Day found that 13 to 14-year-olds tended to opt for books recommended for children in primary school.
Paul Naylor, deputy headteacher at Hawthorn Junior school, in St James Road, Blackburn, said he believed the results were down to a lack of time in the high school curriculum to focus on the basics.
He said: “Primary schools have different strategies aimed at improving reading skills and developing a joy of reading to give pupils a very wide base of experiences they can use when they get to secondary school.
“There is much more of a supportive nature within primary schools. We also have the time and the flexibilty.
“The curriculum is very different, we build reading not only into our English lessons, but we also have guided reading.
“Once the children get to secondary school, there are different pressures and they move at a faster pace.”
More than 300,000 teens were quizzed as part of the What Kids Are Reading report by Prof Keith Topping from Dundee University.
He claimed that on average, the books chosen by readers in the category were suitable for 10-year-olds.
In particular teenage boys were in need of encouragement to read more difficult texts.
Michelle Cunliffe, head of English at Alder Grange Community, Technology School and Sixth Form School, in Calder Road, Rawtenstall, said children were able to buck the trend if adults in secondary schools had a passion for reading they could pass on to pupils.
She said: “There is no such thing as not enjoying reading.
“There is a good book out there for everybody and some simply need more guidance than others to help them find the right book.
“Just last week two Year 10 boys went in to the library request Orwell’s 1984 and Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
“This wasn’t because they were studying these books, they just wanted to read them for fun.
“It is nice to see that there are students in school that contradict the idea that teenagers only read ‘easy’ books.”