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Government to set compulsory reading books for primary children?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by violingirl, May 8, 2011.

  1. violingirl

    violingirl New commenter

    I read on Teletext today that the Government are thinking of introducing compulsory reading book lists for Primary children.
    Does anyone think this is a good idea and which books do you think Gove will come up with? Which books should be on a set list, if there were such a thing?

  2. There was a discussion about this last night. Personally I think it is absolutely appalling that the government feel it appropriate to dictate to qualified professionals which books to read and share with their children.
    I adapt the books I read and use in class according to the topics we follow and the interests of the children. I encourage a wide range of texts to engage my class and encourage a love of reading.
    I don't think any books should be on a set list. I'm all for making good recommendations and I am always open to suggestions from other teachers but I will not adhere to a set list of texts.
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    It's a preposterous idea and one that mad me wondering if it was some sort of a joke when I read about it in the paper yesterday.
    If Gove himself recommends some books that children ought to read, I'll peruse it with interest and then probably discard it.
    If it's a government, or DofE introduced compulsory book list then I'll be horrified. The whole thing smacks of totalitarian Soviet Russia, as much as anything else. At the very least, imposed reading lists are likely to turn reluctant readers off reading even more.
    The honourable thing for any author whose book(s) is chosen for such a list would be to refuse to allow their book to be associated with it.

  4. I am more than happy to have books suggested to me, especially as an NQT I struggled to think of books that would go with particular units. However, I would really resent being told that I HAD to use set books. It takes away from our professional judgement and takes no account for how different children can be depending on culture, background etc. I choose books that I think will inspire a love of reading for my children. But I wouldn't necessarily have used the books that I used with this class when I was in my previous school.
    We've all spent so long making imaginitive cross curricular links and finding books that fit with these. Making us use set books just stops this creativity.
    Oooh that's made me so cross!
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    The Tories - like their Labour predecessors - came to power promising to 'set schools free'.
    They've already embarked on a faster, bigger programme of interference and prescription than Labour could have dreamed of. Politicians just cannot keep their fingers off, can they? Driven as they are by their narrow-minded, ill-informed, sub-Mail reader views on what happens in schools, they can't stop themselves imposing whole swathes of 'What children should not get through school without doing/knowing/experiencing', all derived from their fantasy world of Wwhat schools should be like'.
    *rant, rant*
  6. Yet another example of how the goverment have absolutely no idea of the reality of working in a british school.
    Perhaps instead of wasting time and money coming up with these preposterous schemes, they should spend some time in school in the context of actually learning what good teachers do.
  7. Apart from this being an absolutely ridiculous idea, who is going to pay for this set book list. We are struggling to purchase a wide range of books for our home and guided readers. Are the government going to provide every school with a set of these books - if this was the case I'd say thanks very much and then just read what I wanted to read. I teach by topic and buy my own books to go with each topic. I agree with previous comments, forcing chn to read is not going to instill a love of reading. So many chn already think its boring, god only knows what they will think if this is introduced.
  8. Imagine what will happen as well with the parents who get their hands on the list and force feed them to their children before school. There will be cries of 'I read this already' constantly. Knowing what the parents of my children are like there will be a competition for who can get their child to read the most books from the list.
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Excellent point!
  10. It will kill the enjoyment of reading for reading's sake and enjoying sharing books with each other.
  11. violingirl

    violingirl New commenter

    According to the BBC news website, Gove says that teachers have 'lost their way'.......
    What does he mean? What rubbish!
  12. probably lost our way in the maze of useless paperwork that we spend hours completing!
  13. I have lost my way. I have lost my way in endless paperwork and I have lost my way in goalposts that are always moving.

  14. Lost their way? Probably because we are so busy trying to wade through all the rubbish they and previous governments have put in our way.
    How many other PROFESSIONS would put up with this level of interference???
  15. invincible

    invincible New commenter

    And who guides us down that way?
  16. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    I hadn't read about this, and it sounds a little odd from a conservative govmt. It did however raise again a thought I keep on getting my mind about the National Curriculum, money for books in schools etc etc.
    As far as I understand it - and correct me if I'm wrong as my info is probably now very out of date - France has had a national curriculum for many years. The textbooks for the school year are fairly closely prescribed, and the parents purchase them. The cost to parents is relatively low as at the end of each year they can trade them in, if still in reasonable condition, at a secondhand bookseller which covers the national curriculum books e.g. Gibert Jeune, and purchase the following year's books secondhand. So the cost to parents is not high, and the schools do not have the same budget problems regarding textbooks as here.
    I don't really know how it works in detail, or if it is still done like this, but at the time I saw it working it seemed quite good. But clearly if the set curriculum or textbooks were poor or quickly outdated it would not work very well.
    I don't know how they deal with parents who really cannot afford the books - but there could be some means-tested way around this; but the notion of parents contributing in this way might mean that a higher proportion of parents value education and place it higher in their priorities.
    Personally I don't think that parents who get their children to race on ahead and read the books in advance of them coming in class would be too much of a problem; if it's a well-paced curriculum just how much of this would happen in reality --- children will be busy with what they've got to do now, not what is coming up months ahead ---- and if it's good reading material, it should be enjoyable and worth reading more than once anyhow?
  17. Well said pinkflipflop!
    I want any children I teach to simply read whatever (within reason!) they like. People like Michael Rosen and Michael Morpurgo have long championed reading for the pure love of reading itself- such enjoyment could easily be stifled, and at worse killed , by a "you must read this book" mentality. I was told I must read 'classics' when at school and stop reading the same Roald Dahl books I'd read before: the whole experience put me off reading fiction for years and years. Getting children 'into' books, whatever they may be, is one of the most important thing we can be doing as teachers.
    This whole thing is yet another example of government (of any persuasion) telling professional teachers how to do their job.
  18. The whole curriculum content is so out of kilter with what is needed to understand and prosper that its replacement by considered and thoughtful content and practice is massively overdue. Alas this will never happen under any government in this country, divorced as politicians are from real life or what is actually important. But of course education is not about education it is about dumbing the proles...increasingly I have come to believe this is the only purpose, having started out many moons ago as a wishy washy Liberal. Hence the need to numb them with set texts and feed them piped pap.
    It is worth pointing out that some of the normal mainstream kids I teach have already rejected much of what 'society' offers. They see schools as a factory for producing unemployed or marginally employed, TV as rubbish, and see little point in pride in the country or what it can offer. I have several who are planning to emigrate (not because of immigration, I may add). They are conventional mainstream kids who are genuinely alienated from British society.
    Many do not read books anymore unless they have to. Most know nothing of the land they live in and on. They may well change as they get older, but it is sad to see this now.
  19. I find this an incredible statement, as UK teachers are probably the most over-prescribed teachers worldwide, this is not the 70s/80s.

    I also find it incredible because Goves is offerening teachers and schools more freedom to choose their ways of working through Free Schools and Academies. What will Goves next say if the Academies don't use the freedom the way he wants, ie they decide to go back to integrated days etc?.

    Is the offer of freedom to schools just a carrot to be later withdrawn when Goves decides schools have, "Lost their way?"

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