Half of children 'have never been read a bedtime story'

MORE than half of primary school teachers say many children in their classes have never been read a bedtime story, according to a survey yesterday.

The lack of storytelling at home is damaging writing abilities, researchers believe.

The poll found 55.7 per cent of primary school teachers have taught children who have never been read a story.

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The Oxford University Press survey of 300 teachers also found 72 per cent believe primary pupils were less able to tell stories than ten years ago.

Literary expert and former primary head teacher Pie Corbett said: "To develop children as writers, reading is absolutely essential. Every teacher knows the best writers, the most proficient writers, are always readers.

"It not only gives children language, it develops their imaginations. Storytelling is also hugely important, as the ability to tell a story is developed by building up a bank of well-known tales to draw upon.

"Those who struggle may not yet have built up that storehouse. For example, if they are not read to at home, they are unfamiliar with the language patterns.

"Narrative is a necessary, primary act of mind and natural to all human beings – we are all story-makers whether we like it or not."

The survey was carried as part of an effort to encourage parents to tell their children stories.