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Why parents should keep quiet for the bedtime story

Richard Garner
Monday 04 January 2010 01:00 GMT

Parents should turn the tables on their children and get their offspring to read aloud to them, a leading education troubleshooter claims today.

Sir Jim Rose, the former director of inspections at the education watchdog Ofsted, believes that encouraging young children to speak as well as read, both in class and at home, is essential. In an interview with The Independent, he says: "Get them to tell the story as well. Conversation is important to developing reading."

A new curriculum devised for primary schools by Sir Jim will be introduced from September 2011, and will stress the importance of developing speaking and listening skills as well as reading and writing. "My grandchildren are always saying 'Grandad, tell us a story'," he said. "The adult in that situation is much important than we realised. The adult can stimulate kids to read clearly, too."

Sir Jim, whose enquiries for the Government have included how to improve the teaching of dyslexic pupils, and the use of synthetic phonics to learn reading, has a new role as chairman of the CfBT charity's education committee, and will oversee its research programme.

He is anxious to look at the use of new technology in the classroom and improving teachers' expertise amid claims that some pupils are better able to make use of computers than their teachers.

"There is a lot of self-teaching going on when it comes to learning how to use technology," he said. "Improving teachers' knowledge of it is something we must very definitely keep on the radar."

He is worried that public spending cuts over the next few years could see a reversal of the gains made in education in the past decade, particularly the increase in the number of teaching assistants employed in schools.

"They have been of great benefit in helping the teacher and I think it would be a pity if we went back to earlier years, when teachers had to do so many of the administrative tasks themselves," he added.

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