Nick Butterworth talks about reading with children at the Kent Literacy Awards

by Lauren Abbott

Read with small children, read for pleasure and take every chance to be creative.

That's the message to parents and schools from top author and illustrator Nick Butterworth who was speaking at the Kent Literacy Awards.

The event recognises the work being done across Kent to improve reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Percy the Park Keeper author Nick Butterworth was the guest of honour at the Kent Literacy Awards
Percy the Park Keeper author Nick Butterworth was the guest of honour at the Kent Literacy Awards

In an exclusive interview with My Kent Family's sister radio station kmfm, the Percy the Park Keeper creator said being enthused by books and by literacy in general was hugely important for youngsters.
Describing it as the most 'vital life skill' he said: "Reading for pleasure and especially reading for pleasure with parents, when they are much younger, it is hugely important."

The importance of reading regularly with small children
The importance of reading regularly with small children

Nick, who is behind popular children's stories My Mum is FANTASTIC and My Grandpa is AMAZING, also spoke about how vital it is that schools and teachers are afforded creativity in the classroom.

Citing an example of his son's teacher who once clambered through a window dressed as a burglar before reading them the associated story in a moment he says left the children 'buzzing', he explained: "Teachers are very conscientious. They are hugely inventive and creative.

"They need the space and resources to do what is right for their own schools.

"Teachers will do much better when they can be creative."

The 73-year-old also cautioned against too much importance being placed on testing or hefty monitoring of schools - and that if schools are being regularly checked it should be to make sure they have all the resources required to provide excellent learning and not just the quality of learning the children are receiving.

In the same week that the More Than A Score campaign released its video ahead of SATS results, to remind children they are formed of more than a test figure, the children's author recalled his own 11plus failure.

Scroll down to watch the More Than A Score video for children

Explaining that both he and fellow Harper Collins author Michael Morpurgo both failed the grammar-school assessment he said: "Turned out we both failed the 11Plus way back. Both of us carried that stigma of failure for many many years."

The Q Pootle 5 creator said it can take a long time for other events, particularly in a young child's life, to go on to 'eclipse' that failure but for a lot of other people 'they will carry that for the rest of their lives'.

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