Why 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and not 20 books a year?

Yesterday The Independent published a quite noteworthy article by Philip Hensher, Fifty books a year is ideal, but why stop at schoolchildren? The author shares his reflection on the value of reading books. He points out that reading books in a public place is a part of European culture but in many other cultures, reading in that place would be perceived as very rude (in Taiwan, for example). In his opinion ‘reading is as central to the existence of many English people as eating.’

Philip Hensher also mentions the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s ambition to persuade schoolchildren to read 50 books a year, as currently many of them read 2 books for GCSE. The journalist backs Gove’s idea, but he thinks that the Government should also introduce mandatory reading of 20 books a year for adults, similar to eating 5 fruit and vegetables a day.

Reading 50 books a year seems to be a huge challenge, especially for 11-year-old children but personally I’ve never had a problem with reading obligatory school books. Actually, my love of reading started when I was 11 years old – that summer I read 30 books. Since then I’ve read thousands of books, some of them even three times. I’ll never forget books like The Six Bullerby Children by Astrid Lindgren, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Winnetou by Karl May, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe or The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and many, many others.

Someone would ask, why mention all these titles or what to read, if we have internet, digital television, and other new technological innovations. Well, maybe it’s necessary. Nowadays, teachers try to teach students how they could extend their imagination and give them tasks such as writing clever similes or metaphors found in Thesaurus in a table. Kids that will watch too much TV will always have this problem – to use their own imagination. The question is how they could do that if their imagination is limited to flat pictures from TV or their computer games? Maybe 50 books for schoolchildren and 20 for adults is a bit of an exaggerated number, but at least 10 would be enough: for children – to develop their own imagination, and for adults – to drag them away from weekly parties.

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2 Comments

Filed under Contemporary society

2 responses to “Why 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and not 20 books a year?

  1. It’s actually extremely depressing how little people do read nowadays. Admittedly I am not as consistent a reader as I would like to be (I’ll read only two books over a period of months and then have a binge, reading 6-7 in the space of a fortnight) but it’s pathetic that many, particularly young people, aren’t even ashamed of how little they read, but are actually proud!

    • @ Kyle. Well, people taking pride in not reading are just immature. It’s no bad if they are still kids though. These still have time to grow up. On the other hand reading is quite addictive. Once you taste it you can’t live without it :D.

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