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Interview with Dr Roland Marden

Booktrust Research and Development Manager

2008-9-16

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Diverse activities organised by Booktrust aim to establish a contact to books and to kindle a motivation for reading by this and other means. Dr. Roland Marden, the research and development director, talks about book donation campaigns and a project for eleven-year-old children who can choose a book amongst a selection and keep it. The foundation further aims for all families with small children to join a library, and that everyone may access information about “a good read”.

Are there any officially educational goals of reading promotion in your country?
The current government considers reading to be integral to educational attainment, social mobility and general well being. It supports a number of programmes designed to promote reading, including National Year of Reading, book gifting programmes aimed at various ages of children, and various school-based programmes to support the teaching of reading, e.g. Every Child a Reader. The teaching of reading is a priority at an early stage in primary education.

Is reading promotion mainly an element of native-language class or do you have any explicit classes for reading promotion?
Reading is taught as part of language and communication development.

Have you got any experience concerning the promotion of reading with children of low income families? Which kind of measures would you recommend?
We believe that Booktrust’s universal programmes promoting reading among all children in particular benefit disadvantaged children. Evaluation of book gifting programmes has shown most improvement in reading frequency among low income families which read relatively infrequently.


Would you please give a brief description of the main focus of activities of your organization?
Booktrust mission statement:

  • We give all children opportunities to develop the reading habit from an early age.
  • We want all families with young children to become library members and long-term active library users.
  • We want teachers to feel inspired about how to engage children in creative reading and writing.
  • We want everyone to know about ‘good reads’ and have access to independent book recommendations.


Which measures of the promotion of reading addressed to pupils by organizations of your country do you consider especially effective?

  • Bookstart giving book gifts to preschool children has been particularly effective in encouraging shared reading between parent and baby/toddler. Many parents have been unaware that young babies can enjoy and benefit from book sharing and Bookstart has helped to change attitudes and, ultimately, change behaviour.
  • Letterbox Club giving a book/games package each month to children in foster care. Evaluation has shown improvements in reading and numeracy test scores for the children participating in the programme over a two year period.
  • Booked Up offers 11 year old children a chance to choice their own book from a selection of 12. Allowing these children a choice, we believe, encourages children to feel a personal ownership over the book which, we believe, makes it more likely that they will actually read the book.

Interview: Andrea Steinbrecher, Stiftung Lesen


See also: Promoting Reading in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

See also: Homepage of Booktrust

 
 

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