I’ve been catching up with programmes recorded ages ago, including Marc Lambert and Barry Hutchison’s interview on Scottish television on the eve of World Book Day 2013.
First, a report that focused on digital presence; authors have embraced technology, it says, with ‘online’ blogs and book trailers before adding that face to face is always best (cue cute weans listening to a picture book) followed by a quick bit of information about the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.
And then the bombshell: recent research has discovered that children’s lives are now so busy, that they haven’t time to read!
Boy: I barely read at home
Oh, well, that’s proof positive then … except,
Reporter: When was the last time you read a book outside of school?
Cut to studio with presenter:
We saw in the report that children are reading less.
No, actually your report suggested that’s not entirely true, but let’s move on to Marc Lambert, who patiently explains the importance of celebrating books and bringing attention to them, before the presenter turns to Barry Hutchison and introduces him as the author of Invisible Friends (as opposed to Invisible Fiends). Just a touch ironic perhaps, that the next question is,
Why is reading important?
Maybe so you can introduce your guests correctly?
Barry Hutchison doesn’t even blink, and goes on to explain about core literacy skills and that reading is very important for everything from health to wealth; that it broadens horizons and inspires people; that reading can take you places where you might otherwise never go and teach you new things; and that books allow you to meet people that may not exist in real life but people you can still learn from and learn to grow with.
And then of course, the programme went on to blame computers for taking young people’s attention away from books, ignoring the fact that many computer games are simply stories in other forms, plus the fact that children have always had other things to do.
Hmm, lazy research, non-sequiturs and inaccuracies. Maybe they should read more.