Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English - I Couldn't Put It Better: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English - I Couldn't Put It Better: Resources

Article excerpt

Reading is for everyone, and you can quote me on that.

It's not just books I'm a sucker for, it's also quotes about books. And I agree with Lemony Snicket's comment: "Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them."

Personally, I am living out William Faulkner's view that "the books I read are the ones I loved when I was a young man and to which I return as you do to old friends."

But, most of all, I subscribe to Anne Lamott's declaration that "books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave... they show us how to live and die."

Clearly I like books. And my guess is that if you are reading this, so do you. Which brings us neatly to World Book Day and how we can infect the book-shy in our schools with a similar sense of bibliomania. It is worth remembering the bleak and startling statistic issued by the National Literacy Trust a couple of years ago: one in three young people does not own a book.

For many of us - paid-up members of the Literacy Club - that seems unimaginable. We are probably like Desiderius Erasmus: "When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes." We need books.

World Book Day is an opportunity to get books into the hands of young people - to rekindle a spark of enthusiasm in those who have lost the habit of reading.

But how is that best done at secondary level? First, we need to have lots of books - real books - in school libraries. We need a bit of chaos and colour. We need adults in schools to talk spontaneously about what they are reading. …

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