Wednesday 23 March 2011

Fifty Books A Year

The English government has announced that it wants children in education to be reading 50 books a year, prompted by the fact that most kids only read 2 books for the entire 2 years they are taking their GCSEs (taken when we're about 15/16, to my lovely readers from further afield, i.e. most of you). Being a general armchair agitator, I find it really really hard to agree with this rich tory moron (Education Secretary, Michael Gove) but I can't disagree with something that would open up so many worlds to so many more children. Personally, when I was that age, I read way more than 50 books a year, so I think it's a completely achievable thing to ask, but not when the government is also closing libraries at an alarming rate. Being a poor child, I completely relied on libraries to fuel my reading habit, and literally the most exciting weekends of my childhood were when they had new Babysitters Club books, and I could take them home and read at least two before school on Monday! (Yes, I was a deprived child.)

So, yes, my point. Reading is a wonderful and amazing thing, and something that I would love all children to appreciate and adore as much as I do. But the way to do this is not to expect parents to fuel a reading addiction with the tiny bit of money that they have now that VAT is so high, but to keep all libraries open, and to even open a few more for good measure. If the government doesn't respect the importance of reading by carrying out this one action, then how can children be expected to find reading important at all? And the worst part of it is, the children who need to have access to the other worlds that reading opens up for us all the most, are the ones least likely to get it, because libraries in the least affluent places are the first ones to go. How does this make any sense? It really doesn't.

Hey, I got my government bashing in there anyway! Now go and read this article, by the man I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to marry one of these days- he says that everyone, not just children should be encouraged to read at least twenty books a year... 20? I'm pretty sure I've done that in just a month before, am I right?! Good God, how I do love reading...


  1. I may fight you for that man. Fifty books a year does not seem unattainable to me (of course, I'm in the process of reading book 41 or 42 for the year) unless of course, like you mentioned, libraries are continually being closed.

    When I was a child, I lived walking distance to the library. I went there nearly every day, and my family after awhile put a limit on how many books I could bring home at one time.

    I don't know of many children who have a regular income to afford books, and over the years, I've noticed a decline in the thought that purchasing books is not only a regular habit, but a necessity. So I guess, long way around to the point, if not as many people are buying books and more libraries are closing, how is this goal going to be met?

    On a side note, the slam poet, Taylor Mali, has a wonderful example of school library usage called "I'll Fight You For The Library." It's well worth the youtube look up. I watch it whenever I need some cheering up.

  2. I seriously don't know how they think this is going to happen- make the schools pay for more books when they already don't have enough money? I dunno. But they are completely ridiculous and awful people who only care about lining the pockets of their friends in big business anyway.
    I'm deffos going to look up that guy, but I also like 'Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card' from Arthur- if you didn't see that in your childhood, then you haven't lived yet!

  3. That does make me sad. Are your school libraries any good? That might help some. I think libraries closing is even sadder than book stores closing. Libraries should be uncloseable. Who does that?! Sob. Make it stop!

  4. The library at my school was pretty good, but then that's because I was a librarian there! So I would say that hehe. Our Government is so evil, you have no idea... Libraries are definitely more important to encourage wider reading than bookstores- it is so so sad!

    Having said that, my own local library is pretty bad, if you want anything but Danielle Steel or Virginia Andrews- but that's not the point!