“We’re talking about reading for pleasure, but what an odd thing to have to campaign for.
“It’s kind of like saying ‘Let’s campaign for air, or for nice soup’. You read, you have a good time. That should be the end of it.”
The "brain-expanding" practice of reading for pleasure is being lost in the Government’s fixation on phonics, spelling and grammar, according to the former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen.
Schoolchildren are taught to decode text, retrieve information and write grammatically correct sentences but they are no longer encouraged to lose themselves in a good story, Rosen said.
As a result, they read books without asking questions or relating the stories to their own feelings.
"We constantly live with governments who concentrate on all these narrow aspects of reading, and not of interpretation and understanding," Rosen told the Hay Festival.