Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT said: "The importance of reading for pleasure is well understood. Schools devote time to this, to allow pupils to become lost in a good book, as the saying goes. But this time is in danger of getting lost now, too. Changes to the curriculum and higher stakes tests and exams mean that reading for pleasure can be squeezed out of the school day. This disadvantages low income families the most, because school is a point of free access to books and often those children who would benefit the most from reading for pleasure don't have that many books at home to choose from.
“There are few more important tasks for schools and families than teaching children to read. It is the key that unlocks the door to a world of opportunity, information and even adventure. Learning the technical skills of reading is obviously essential, but there is so much more to learning to read than simply decoding symbols on a page. We want children who not only CAN read, but WANT to read, and actively choose to do so.”
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