Friday, 20 May 2011
The Break-through Book by Keren David
And then - ta-ra!- the breakthrough book. The book which comes easily, the book which motivates them to read for themselves. The book they read all the way through, all by themselves, and then turn to the beginning and start again. The book which sends them back to the library or the bookshop looking for more of the same.
Six or seven is about the right age for the breakthrough book. For me, it was Enid Blyton and the adventures of the Secret Seven. For my daughter it was Michaela Morgan's Sausage books, discovered in the exceptionally well-stocked library at her primary school. It was one of the great moments of motherhood for me, watching her laugh and laugh at these half-cartoon, half text stories.Seven years later I treasure the memory.
Earlier this year I wrote to my MP about the cut in funding for Bookstart. I received a reply this week, boasting about the government's plans to introduce a phonics check for six year olds. 'We are determined to ensure that every child can experience the joy of reading for pleasure,' wrote Schools Minister Sarah Teather, 'and reap the educational benefits that it brings.' I suspect that ensuring that children have access to inviting libraries where they can be guided towards their very own breakthrough book might be a little more useful and pleasurable than an external decoding test at six.
Sue Perkiss wrote a fascinating post on this blog yesterday about books for this age group. I wish they were celebrated more - and I wonder how many children never get started with reading because they never find their very own special book. Do you remember your breakthrough book?