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dinsdag 6 december 2011

Leven zonder boeken

Een opmerkelijk bericht op de site van de Britse National Literacy Trust: '3.8 million children in the UK do not own a book'. Herhaald in The Guardian 5 december 2011: ' Almost 4 million children in Britain – one in three – do not own a book, a poll has found. ' Die bijna vier miljoen kinderen lezen dus waarschijnlijk ook heel weinig boeken.

De rest van het bericht in The Guardian: ' The National Literacy Trust charity, which carried out the survey, said the proportion had risen from one in 10 in 2005. The charity said the findings were very worrying because book ownership was linked to children's future success in life. Children who read well can often overcome other hurdles that lock their peers into a cycle of disadvantage, it said.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the charity, said children were reading from books and even computers less, but watching films and images on screens more. He said there were many more forms of entertainment competing for children's attention than there used to be. The charity commissioned researchers to quiz more than 18,000 children aged 11 to 16. Almost a fifth – 19% –said they had never received a book as a present and 12% said they had never been to a bookshop. Girls were slightly more likely than boys to own a book.  '

Dat laatste bevestigt vele voorgaande bevindingen. Meisjes (vrouwen) lezen meer dan jongens (mannen).
Dat de National Literacy Trust de gegevens zorgelijk zou vinden omdat 'book ownership was linked to children's future success in life' leek me vreemd: niet boekbezit maar leeservaring kan, met wat voorbehoud hier en daar, verband houden met loopbaansucces. Om boeken, kranten en tijdschriften te lezen hoef je ze niet per se te bezitten. De Trust zelf is dan ook iets voorzichtiger: 'the number of books in the home is directly linked to children’s reading levels', maar koppelt de aanwezigheid van boeken in huis wel direct aan book ownership. Dat je boeken ook zou kunnen lenen lijkt de Trust even ontgaan. Ook de rol van het onderwijs wordt in het persbericht niet genoemd. Het is alsof de Trust zich hier tot verlengstuk van de boekverkopersbranche heeft gemaakt. 
Inspectie van het rapport levert echter op dat bibliotheekbezoek wel is meegenomen, maar slechts zijdelings. Typerend is dit citaat:
'Numerous studies show that access to books and other reading materials is particularly important in children’s language and literacy development. Receiving books as presents is one way to enrich learning at home and can help to encourage children and young people to enjoy reading for pleasure. Yet, 19% of young people said that they had never received a book as a present, while 12% have never been to a bookshop and 7% have never been to a library. 
There is a clear relationship between receiving books as presents and reading ability.
Children who agreed that they had never been given a book as a present were less likely to be reading above the expected level for their age (see Table 1). Of children that had never been given a book as a present, 37.9% read above the expected level for their age. Of those that disagreed with the statement, 54.3% were above the expected level.'

En wellicht ook dit:
'At a crude brushstroke, young people who have books of their own are more likely to be girls, in KS2 or KS3, socio-economically better off, from White or Mixed ethnic backgrounds and without a special educational need. Having books of your own is associated with clear literacy outcomes. When compared to peers who do not have books of their own, children who own books:
• enjoy reading more
• read more books
• read more frequently
• read for longer lengths of time when they do read
• have more books in the home
• read more of every kind of material not just books
• are more likely to have been bought a book as a present
• are more likely to have ever visited a library or bookshop
• have more positive attitudes to reading
• find it easier to find books that interest them
• have higher attainment
Whether young people say that they have books of their own is also related to their reading attainment (see Table 2). Of the children and young people who have books of their own, the majority (55%) read above the expected level for their age, while over a third read at the expected level. Of those who have books of their own, less than 10% read below the level expected for their age. By contrast, of those who don’t have books of their own, nearly a fifth read below the expected level, while the majority (46%) read at the expected level and a third read above the expected level for their age.'
Het al dan niet bezitten van boeken lijkt uitgangspunt te zijn geweest. Dat levert het gevaar op van valkuilen & open deuren: natuurlijk hebben boekenbezitters een positievere houding ten opzichte van lezen: anders zouden ze die boeken niet op hun verlanglijstje hebben gezet. Wat was er eerder: de kip of het ei? De vraag is natuurlijk hoe ze tot die leeslust zijn gekomen.
De Trust merkt in het rapport dan ook op:
'However, what matters is that for many addressing literacy skills is a key first step in beginning to address and overcome other related factors that lock individuals into a cycle of disadvantage. Ensuring children and young people enjoy reading, and can access books and other reading materials should therefore be a priority for schools, homes and communities across the UK.'

Intussen is de achteruitgang in leesvaardigheid en leeservaring, als je die zou mogen afleiden uit dit onderzoek, natuurlijk wel zorgwekkend. Inderdaad: 'Children who read well can often overcome other hurdles that lock their peers into a cycle of disadvantage', zoals in het bericht van The Guardian staat. Daarnaast krijgen ze ook nog een schat aan verhalen, poëzie en kennis. En in het verlengde daarvan, als het wat meezit, een ruimere blik op de wereld.
Zie ook Laten lezen, dat het bericht op 5 december (zeer alert) iets verkort overnam. En zie het bericht op de site van de Trust, waar het rapport is te downloaden.
Op Leesgoed was op 5 en 6 december nog niets te vinden, maar het viel me wel op dat het nieuws weer goed wordt bijgehouden.
En Leesgoed 2011-5 is uit, met als thema 'Het kinderboek gaat digitaal'. Daarover later.

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