A leading Welsh author has warned that a literacy crisis among TV-obsessed school pupils is threatening the future of children who are leaving primary education without the ability to write a legible sentence.
Award winning writer and former literary critic Jennifer Sullivan has described the alarming 20-year decline in standards as “depressing and upsetting.”
Dr Sullivan has also called for more home involvement from parents, citing late night TV as a threat to literacy.
She said: “In one school I was asked if I had children, and where they lived.
“I said, three grown-up daughters, living in London, Essex and Northern Ireland.
“One small girl shrieked with excitement: ‘Oh, Miss, the one what do live in Essex (sic)? Is she famous? Is she on Towie (The Only Way Is Essex)? Oh, I want to be an Essex girl when I grow up!’
“I asked how come a nine-year-old was allowed to stay up to watch The Only Way Is Essex.
“‘I got a telly in my bedroom, Miss.’
“I asked how many other children had TVs in their bedrooms.
“Those children who did not have TVs or computer games consoles in their rooms could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
“I asked them what time they actually went to sleep. Not one confessed to turning out the light before 10pm at the earliest and staff confirmed that children often dozed off in class.”
She added: “This battle for literacy must start with parents.
“Parents should be begged, as a first step – for the sake of their children’s immediate health and their future success – to remove televisions and games consoles from their children’s bedrooms.”