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Every pupil should read Dickens, says minister... (but he's too hard, says the author's biographer)

Publié par Clifford Armion le 02/06/2012

Richard Garner

The Schools minister Nick Gibb has great expectations of Britain's 11-year-olds, singling out Charles Dickens' classic as one of the books all children should read before they leave primary school. But on the eve of Dickens' 200th birthday, his biographer has warned that young readers do not have the attention-span to appreciate his work.

Claire Tomalin, whose book Charles Dickens: A Life, was shortlisted for 2011's Costa Book Awards biography prize, said the author's works depicting an unfair society were "amazingly relevant" today. But she added: "Today's children have very short attention-spans because they are being reared on dreadful TV programmes. They are not being educated for long attention-spans."

Nick Gibb, the minister of state for Schools, said Dickens' works, some of which run to more than 500 pages, could have a transformative effective on children's reading habits. "Every child ought to read a Dickens novel by the age of 11," he said.

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"Every pupil should read Dickens, says minister... (but he's too hard, says the author's biographer)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), juin 2012. Consulté le 19/10/2021. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/archives/archives-revue-de-presse/every-pupil-should-read-dickens-says-minister-but-he-s-too-hard-says-the-author-s-biographer-