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Bedroom TV 'cuts child's reading skill'

ONE seven-year-old in five has a television set in the bedroom, according to the National Foundation for Educational Research, writes Judith Judd.

Its survey of literacy teaching in 122 schools, involving 754 six and seven-year-olds, showed that children with a television in their rooms were far less likely to be good readers.

The report, published yesterday, also revealed that many children started learning to read with their mothers. Of the 44 per cent who named the person who taught them to read, 22 per cent mentioned their mother and only 16 per cent a teacher.

Ten per cent of children could read when they arrived at school, including one-third of those who were fluent readers by the age of seven, and 4 out of 10 could write their own names. 'The number of children who had, in their own opinion, learnt to read at home was greater than some teachers believed,' the report said. Its authors found that 75 per cent of children enjoyed reading very much while 90 per cent enjoyed watching television. But only 55 per cent enjoyed writing very much.

Despite the widespread concern about the teaching of reading, the teaching of writing needed urgent attention, the survey said, adding that teachers were more confused about how to teach and assess that subject.

The Teaching of Initial Literacy; Vivienne Cato, Cres Fernandes, Tom Gorman, Anne Kispal with Janet White; National Foundation for Educational Research; pounds 6.50.