Author wants pleasure brought back into books

A new campaign will see two million free books sent to schools in England

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An author has raised concerns about the number of children who are not reading for pleasure because they are being put off by demanding school tests.

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Frank Cottrell Boyce, who won the Carnegie Medal for children’s writing, says there is too much focus on “functional literacy” in the classroom.

His comments follow the launch of a new campaign to try to bring the fun back into reading, with two million free books being supplied to English schools.

Organised by the Booktrust charity, the project aims to help children in reception and the first year of secondary school take more interest in reading.

Mr Cottrell Boyce said: “The government has done fantastic work on literacy, but that’s not the same thing as reading. It is like comparing health to sport.

“One is something functional, the other is something you do because you enjoy it.”

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He added: “Children who read for pleasure will do better at school than those who don’t. You won’t promote that love of reading by subjecting children to a few work cards. It is just stupid.”

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