Lambert, M. The Herald (1 April 2012)
This commentary asserts that “teaching someone how to read does not make them a reader. In fact, it’s Pavlovian: teaching a young child to read before they are ready might put them off altogether, because they experience this process as intense difficulty, and it takes at least two years before they begin to master the skills, by which time they have hardly associated reading and writing with pleasure and profit, quite apart from having their confidence severely battered.” The author insists that students should not be forced to learn reading and writing until the second or third year of primary schools, insisting that younger children should be engaged in play. He cites findings from PISA, including that only 46% of Scottish children only read when they had to and only 26% described reading as a hobby. (See Scotland’s 2006 PISA performance here; see 2009 results here). He advocates a system where the early primary years will be a time to instill “curiosity about the world, verbal dexterity and reasoning in describing it, storytelling in being imaginative with it, and a familiarity with the alphabet and different language forms, registers and modes.” He believes this will help Scottish students gain the confidence and skills that would help them with reading and writing.