As teachers and parents we do tend to witter on about the need for wide reading as our children approach the eleven plus. Somehow children, in their ultra busy days, need to make time to read. But what should they read? Eleven plus children are naturally special cases as so much appears to hang on achieving the right examination results. But what should these children read? From the age of seven or eight they were probably on a free reading scheme – supervised by the teacher or librarian naturally – but still with the ability to choose their own books. Come the eleven plus year and suggestions about suitable books are often made. How will these high flyers react?
The basic beliefs of the eleven plus teacher or tutor are at stake. Should the books be designed for incidental learning or to be used for systematic teaching?
Parents have to try to maintain a balance between acting as counsellors and consultants in the background – or some may feel that they have to initiate instruction and learning. Should they leave these delicate questions to the teacher?
Should eleven plus children be exposed to a wide selection of books – or offered a select few to savour and enjoy?
What should parents do if their child decides to read a selection of `unsuitable’ books rather than worthy tomes?
Are children expected to read in the confines of their bedroom – before they go to sleep – or are they encouraged to read anywhere and anytime?
Should the books appeal to boys or to girls or should these eleven plus children be offered books that are gender free? There is a fascinating article about how many pages boys are prepared to read!
Does the eleven plus child really need to do lots of reading – or is reading encouraged because it is `politically correct’.
What about ebooks? Would devices like a Kindle or an Ipad help to encourage reading?
Will the books take into account intelligence, interests, home background and ability with words and ideas?
Are the books the right size and format to be able to attract eleven plus children? Are the illustrations, if any, appropriate?
And finally, how much will it all cost? Is it really worth all the effort, expense and time?