Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dawn French: 'Our children's inability to read is a failure we must all share'

Dawn French, the UK entertainer, today pledged her support for our literacy campaign as a host of famous names from the Bishop of London to American actor Henry Winkler urged everyone to get involved.

The star comedy actress said she was shocked by statistics showing one in four children struggles to read at age 11 - and one in three does not own a book.

Speaking after being crowned writer of the year at the Glamour women of the year awards last night, French said: "I'm shocked - I did not know how many children were affected.

"We are hampering their futures by not enabling them to be at the correct reading age. I'm not sure how we will achieve that - certainly the Standard's campaign will be a great help. We have definitely got to address it."

She has fond memories of her father and uncles reading to her when she was a child, and added: "I believe you can't have a proper, full, outer life if you don't have an inner life; and that's what reading is for me.

"Every kid is entitled to the right to read, because they're entitled to the right to an imagination."

The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, said: "Today, our church schools deliver consistently high standards. Sadly, as the Standard's important campaign highlights, literacy amongst London children is patchy and in places, disturbingly poor. This is a failure in which we must all share, and all work to address."

Happy Days star Winkler, 65, spoke candidly about the "shame and humiliation" caused by his dyslexia, which was diagnosed when he was 31, in a bid to support our campaign.

Dawn French: 'Our children's inability to read is a failure we must all share' | News

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