London, Mar.27 (ANI): Most British students fail to read complete novels at school after being presented with short extracts and worksheets to practice comprehension and sentence structure, it was claimed.
The National Union of Teachers told the Telegraph that the decline was being fuelled by the widespread closure of school libraries to save money.
ext week, the union will use its annual conference in Liverpool to call for dedicated space in the timetable to be created to give children more opportunity to "read for pleasure".
Alan Gibbons, the children's author, who will address the meeting, said an over-reliance on short extracts risked undermining children's grasp of classic works by Dickens and Shakespeare.
Speaking before the conference, he said: "Schools use extracts to spot the metaphor or the simile, instead of allowing children to read whole books.
Gibbons, who wrote the best selling Shadow of the Minotaur, told how one secondary school class he visited was asked to scan part of Macbeth for scenes that "fitted with the theme of 'ambition' because the teacher thought it was going to be in their exam".
"There was no attempt to read the thing or understand it," he said.
Gibbons has already led a campaign of children's authors to protest against Sats tests in primary schools.
He has also written to the Government ordering extracts of his books to be removed from worksheets, insisting that novels "should not be used to bludgeon kids with comprehension". (ANI)