Sunderland author Terry Deary defends school book row remarks

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HORRIBLE Histories author Terry Deary is unrepentant after stirring up a row about the use of his books in schools.

Sunderland-born Terry, 66, whipped up a storm when he said he would rather his books were not read in classrooms and wished he could sue schools for using them in lessons.

Horrible Histories - Awful Egyptians'Lauryn Redding as Masie'Gary Wilson as a Mummy'Michael Moulton as Ramesses' Luke Broughton as Anubis'photo by Ian Tilton

Horrible Histories - Awful Egyptians'Lauryn Redding as Masie'Gary Wilson as a Mummy'Michael Moulton as Ramesses' Luke Broughton as Anubis'photo by Ian Tilton

The comments sparked a national media storm: “It was picked up by the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Sunday times,” said Terry.

Terry believes forcing children to learn to read destroys the joy of them discovering a book for themselves and developing their own taste.

“It’s like going to a library and having the librarian say, ‘You must read the book I tell you and you must read it with 29 other people at the same time and at the same pace,’ he said.

“If you did that to an adult, they would go berserk, but they do it to children.”

Terry, who says he would like to see all schools shut down and children “set free” believes boys in particular suffer from the way reading is taught.

“Children should be reading for fun, reading for pleasure and reading for information, which is very important for boys,” he said.

Studies have shown girls prefer fiction while boys like factual books, but Terry says schools continue to favour one over the other.

“Boys are more interested in non-fiction books than girls,” he said, “but teachers teach reading using fiction, then say boys don’t like reading – it is obvious why.

“When boys come across a book, non-fiction, they swallow them whole.

“Parents come up to me and say, ‘Thank you. My son wouldn’t read until he picked up one of your books and now he is reading voraciously’.”

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