This comes from U.K. education secretary, Alan Johnson, and while it leaves room for debate and may be seen as an exaggeration by some, I find a great deal of truth in what he says:
"The average family spends four hours a day watching television. If they read to their children for a tenth of that time, we could practically eradicate illiteracy."
The quote is part of a Guardian Unlimited article in which Mr. Johnson explains ways that schools can encourage boys to read so that they will be better able to keep up with girls when they reach secondary school.
More action-packed fiction and more attention-grabbing teaching could help boys engage with their learning - and benefit girls too by making lessons go more smoothly, he suggested.Something similar to Johnson's approach should be taken in this country where boys so often fall behind girls at an early age, and to an extent, that they never catch back up. Girls have benefited from the extra effort that has been made in recent years to ensure that they get off to a proper educational start. Unfortunately, the boys have been largely left to fend for themselves and that neglect of their needs has created a new problem with which educators now need to deal.
Mr Johnson called for a comprehensive educational strategy which "builds a positive identity for working-class boys, instilling in them pride and a love of learning." This would include encouraging more parents and grandparents to read to children, a campaign to attract more men into teaching in primary schools, and special one-to-one tuition.