Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Reading Comedians

I've noticed something about children's reading habits that I'd not spotted before.

When I go into schools I ask kids what they like to read. In the last five years I've had at least 50,000 responses from the 300,000 kids I've spoken to.

The big names are always the same:

Jacqueline Wilson

Michael Morpurgo

Roald Dahl

But - in the last year - there is a genre being mentioned more and more by year sevens and eights.

Comedians' autobiographies.

It started with the odd mention of Harry Hill, then Michael McIntyre (left).

I was at Noadswood School in Hythe, Southampton earlier this week. I asked the kids about it.

Out of 210 kids, at least 50 had read comedians' autobigraphies.

I asked them for a list of names of comedians' books they'd read. Here it is:

Harry Hill

Michal McIntyre

Ricky Gervais

Alan Carr

Russell Brand

Lee Evans

Jeremy Clarkson (!)

Ant & Dec

Peter Kay

Al Murray

So what are we going to do about it? We've used football to promote reading. How about comedians? Using their books and their appeal to enthuse more young readers.

Would the comedians want to help us? Of course they would.

One boy at Hythe suggested the comedian might like to do sketches around reading. Great idea.

One issue could be that comedians talk and write about stuff that some people might not want year sevens and eights to be aware of. But, let's face it, they are more aware of most of that stuff than adults are, so we need to get round that.

I'll have a word with the inspired staff at the National Literacy Trust. See what we can do...

No comments: