Leader comment: Don’t be a literary wimp

Reading is a joy, a source of learning and a way to become funnier and more interesting
Reading is a joy, a source of learning and a way to become funnier and more interesting
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If there’s one thing we learned from the What Kids are Reading report, it’s that kids really like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. And, apparently, being called “kids”.

So if your child doesn’t seem to be much interested in reading, you now know what to give them for their next birthday. For reading books is a joy, a way to learn new and wonderful things and become funnier and generally more interesting. Everyone should be encouraged to do it.

The problem thrown up by the study is that children’s progress in reading more complicated prose has a tendency to slow down from the age of 11; by 16, many are still reading books aimed at 13-year-olds.

A professor involved in the study urged teachers to encourage their pupils to try “more difficult books”. But it can be tricky to persuade children to stop being such literary wimps.

Anyone forced to read Thomas Hardy may never do so again, perhaps missing out in later life, whereas a child who discovers Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War themselves might take to it like it’s a sort of real-life Lord of the Rings.

READ MORE: Reading standards in Scotland falling behind UK, study warns