Thursday, 27 November 2008
So In Relation...
So after posting a couple of days ago about closing down libraries I had a conversation with some colleagues about the state of reading in this country right now.
I think we all agreed that less and less people are reading, even if it's just a few pages a night like me - most worryingly, this seems to be true of children and teenagers and aren't they the people who need to be reading the most? It does, after all, extend their vocabulary and their overall general knowledge.
I wouldn't exactly say that I'm a book aficionado but I do know a fair bit and I have spent a large number of years studying literature - from this you generally get a good feel of how things should and should not be written (although really the basics of writing should be drilled in during sessions in school - I can't stand bad grammar and spelling).
Since one of my associates teaches English, they know what is and isn't acceptable in the world of teaching. So now we have a parallel - as TV, games console and computer ownership goes up, the number of books being sold and read is going down. Add to this a second parallel - as the number of books being read is going down, the number of kids who can't read, write and communicate properly is going up. And it's going to be difficult to solve since if these kids don't want to read, which is generally the case after they hit the age of 12, literacy skills will be in free fall and we'll have a whole country of illiterates!
(Well, maybe that was an exaggeration but you get the drift....)
My associate pointed out that children don't even have to be reading Shakespeare or Wordsworth to generally increase their reading and writing standard - even works of science fiction, fantasy and crime thrillers will help them because they all have one thing in common - a wide vocabulary and generally impeccable grammar (I say impeccable because, while most books have very few mistakes, I consider the rotten Oxford Comma to be awful and unnecessary!). I would highly recommend people like Terry Pratchett for people who can't stand more realistic concepts - even he involves the politics of the day and the state of our world into his hilarious Discworld novels.
Oh, what to do? I believe we're in a conundrum....