Up to eyes in deadline so here’s a link to an article from the Telegraph that I rather enjoyed – ‘Not the 50 books you should read before you die’. (I found this witty rather than snarky, and I agree hugely with #1, which I found unreadable and was the first time I ever gave up on a book. I might add that anyone with an English degree has probably come across the first 18 – and yes, I have read them, with the exceptions of Goethe and Mitchell, plus the fact I couldn’t finish the Joyce.)
50 books? Ah yes. Dear education secretary’s comment that children SHOULD read 50 books a year. Being prescriptive isn’t going to tempt kids into reading – but introducing them to the sheer pleasure of a page-turning book will. How you do that depends very much on the individual child and his/her tastes. ‘Story time’ doesn’t always work (my youngest is a voracious reader but loathes story time at school). Eldest went through a phase of reading only non-fiction, and it was only a chance discovery of some fiction that came alight for him (Patrick Ness’ “The Ask and the Answer”) that made him ask for more.
So how do you get your child to read? I’d say try going to a good indie bookshop, talk to the staff about your child’s likes and dislikes, and ask for recommendations. If your budget can’t stretch to books, then you can do it for free - talk to a librarian in the children’s section (or even the school librarian). Or talk on your blog, or FB, or Twitter – people love sharing books they’ve enjoyed or their children have enjoyed.