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Congratulations to Michael Rosen, Childrens’ Laureate

Michael Rosen: author, poet, and some time denizen of Harry’s Place’s comment boxes has been appointed Childrens’ Laureate.

Michael is an excellent children’s writer, as any sensible child will tell you.

His politics are a bit rubbishy: but personally I blame the Socialist Workers for leading him astray. Anyhow, I like to think that had a tiny go at some of his RESPECT comrades here.

However, I’m more sympathetic to him when he says something like this:

Michael Rosen, who was today appointed children’s laureate, set out his stall for the two-year stint with a pledge to fight to bring back into classrooms a love of reading for pleasure.
“I utterly resent and reject the notion that you can teach reading without books,” he told journalists after his appointment.

“There is a huge push on to create an environment – in nurseries, and reception, and year ones and year twos – where books are secondary to the process of reading. This seems oxymoronic to me. We must, must have at the heart of learning to read the pleasure that is reading. Otherwise why bother? You could learn phonics, learn how to read and then put it behind you and watch telly – you’re given no reason to read. There are many ways in which people learn how to read; the idea that there is one way is an outrageous fib.

“It’s taken a long time for my daughter to bring a picture book home from school because she’s been bringing home the Oxford Reading Tree day after day, week after week. The idea that that’s what the school provides to children in her class who might not encounter other books horrifies me. We don’t care about lists of words. We care about the Gruffalo. So why aren’t kids bringing home The Gruffalo?”

Rosen said that he would be working with Booktrust, the charity that administers the laureateship, to promote the use of picture books in schools.

Congratulations Michael!

UPDATE

Michael Rosen is interviewed on Newsnight tonight, right after the bit about the woman whose husband wanted her to become a suicide bomber in London.

You can see him at the end of tonight’s broadcast, here.

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