Reading crisis means one in six children miss the magic of Harry Potter
By Sarah Harris
7th January 2012
Great expectations: Schools Minister Nick Gibb wants to raise the standard of reading in schools
A generation is being robbed of the chance to read children’s classics because of poor levels of literacy in primary schools, a senior minister warned yesterday.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said primary pupils were unable to enjoy books such as Harry Potter and the Narnia series because they ‘haven’t learnt to read properly’.
Mr Gibb highlighted the fact that tens of thousands of 11-year-olds – around one in six – still struggle to read as they start at secondary school and one in ten 11-year-old boys has a reading age of seven or below.
Addressing local authority leaders and headmasters at the North of England Education Conference in Leeds, Mr Gibb condemned low levels of reading for pleasure and ordered schools to have higher expectations.
He said: ‘We’re lucky that some of the most magical and exciting children’s books ever written have been written in the English language – the works of Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson; Harry Potter and Narnia; the Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh.