Let them read books…

1001 books you must read before you die. That’s equivalent to about just 10 a year if you live to be 100?

There’s been a lively debate recently about Mr Gove’s suggestion that all children should read 50 books a year. This presents some interesting problems, not the least how the books will be selected, who will pay for them and how each child’s reading will be monitored, and of course, most importantly, assessed. How long will it be before the smartest children simply buy a copy of ‘1001 books you must read before you die’, which neatly summarises each one?


or as one reviewer has put it:

‘you don’t have to actually read all those classic and influential novels, because this superb reference book provides enough information in itself to give the reader an excellent literary overview. With this single volume, you can avoid feeling that you’ve read so much that dying might be a merciful release from all that goddamned literature; instead, each pleasantly brief entry provides enough to grasp the essence of the book in question’.

Meanwhile for the less ambitious, there’s always ‘501 must-read’ books. That’s just 5 a year…

Of course another really good solution might be to equip every child with an iPad-type touch tablet, loaded with the 550 books they are expected to read as they move through school (or 650 if they stay on to the Sixth Form).

And why exactly 50 a year one wonders? According to the Guardian:
it seems Mr Gove picked up on the idea while visiting the USA, so we can safely assume it’s been worked out as one a week, stupid. Err.. does that mean children are excused from reading a book during Christmas week and Easter week then, or….?

It’s a sad reflection that something that is actually potentially worthwhile ends up being widely ridiculed just because it’s been said by an education minister whose pronouncements can only now be read as a bit of a joke…

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