Tuesday, 15 September 2009

A serious case of "Excerptitis": please define and analyse, using full sentences. Marks will be deducted for incorrect spelling and grammar.

Just found this from earlier on this month:

An obsession with “excerptitis” in primary schools means young children rarely read a whole book, research suggests today.

A quarter of primary school children read just one complete book a year in the classroom, and do not discover the endings of classics such as Treasure Island or Goodnight Mr Tom.
Instead they are frequently given passages or “bite-sized” extracts of books to read. The survey found that one in eight primary school teachers had never read a whole book with their class.
A lack of time caused by the pressure of squeezing many subjects into the curriculum is thought to be to blame.

Michael Rosen, the poet and former Children’s Laureate, said: “I think of it as an illness called excerptitis. The consequence of excerptitis is boredom. We have bored thousands of children and put them off reading. I mean, what a tragedy.

“This research shows that in thousands of classrooms children are not reading books or talking about books, I think it will shock the public that so few whole books are being taught in class.
“There are going to be children who will only be taught about three or four books as part of their literacy education in the whole of their primary careers. For the thousands of children who don’t read books at home, it is a travesty. That’s three books they might have come across in the whole of their infant lives.

“The idea that children can’t manage whole stories or whole books is a nonsense,” Rosen added. “No extract in the world has the power of books. Extracts deny children the meat of the story.”
The survey of more than 500 primary staff and 1,000 parents of schoolchildren was commissioned by Heinemann, an educational publisher. It claims to be the first wide-scale research into the use of whole books in literacy teaching.

Researchers said that, if the findings were extrapolated to all primaries across the country, it would mean 600,000 children would never read a book in class with their teacher. More than 1.1 million would study only one whole book a year.

Teachers said books not finished in class included The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Roald Dahl’s popular novels.

Half of teachers could think of at least one occasion where pupils were left ignorant about the narrative of a novel, because teaching the whole book was not a priority in class.

Almost 85 per cent said children missed out on finding out “what happens next” because they did not read a whole book.

Three quarters of teachers said children’s “reading stamina” and concentration levels were being damaged by the lack of whole book reading.

Nearly two thirds of teachers feared the absence of teaching literacy using entire books could turn children off reading. One in five said they had seen evidence of this already, with many believing there was a greater negative impact on boys.

State primary classes were almost twice as likely to not finish a whole book as their independent school counterparts - 13 per cent compared with just eight per cent in private schools.

Michael Morpurgo, the children’s author, said: “When a book is written, it’s written whole.
“The point of a book is that it should be fun, it should be exciting, it should tell you more about the world around you, it should open your eyes and open your heart, it should make you joyful, it should make you sad - and you can't get this from just taking little snippets from it.”

Classic books remembered most fondly by parents in the survey were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Hobbit, Stig of the Dump, Swallows and Amazons, and Watership Down.


Carol said...

That certainly reflects the experience of my kids when they were at school! And they NEVER read at home out of choice! Now they are always reading (and no pressure from me whatever).

Rhiannon is often shocked at how "unread" she finds her secondary aged peers. She often asks people if they like "The Lord of the Rings". She claims that at least 80% say "what's that?"!

Carolyn said...

I too can vouch for this from two view points!!! As a teaching assistant for a number of years pre HE I used to hate literacy hour. Using a book that has lots of excerpts in from other books and then answering questions. Nothing more likely to send the kids to sleep( and me too!!)
Jonathan hated reading and never read willingly, but is often found with his nose in a book these days!

The Book Chook said...

I agree with Morpurgo. As a lover of literature, it appalls me that the emphasis in many schools now is on quantity rather than quality, and quantifying learning. Some things, like love of reading, just can't be quantified!

Debs said...

It made me so sad to read this. The entire point of reading, surely, is that it's supposed to be enjoyable. I feel so sad for all those poor children who never get to find out how the story ends. It's really tragic. :(