A best-selling Scarborough author has warned that getting teenagers to study Shakespeare puts them off books.
GP Taylor, whose work includes Shadowmancer, described Shakespeare as “dry” and claims more modern books should be included in the curriculum to ensure pupils develop a love of reading.
Figures show that children growing up in his home county of Yorkshire are less likely to master the basics in reading and writing than those anywhere else in the country.
Mr Taylor claimed a key problem is the choice of books pupils are asked to study, adding: “I do think Shakespeare is a real killer.
“Young people tell me that it is a real pain for them and I think it puts them off.
“Not just Shakespeare, but it puts them off books in general.
“The language and the context is just not relevant to them and often they study it without the performance, so it’s just dry.
“Nobody will want to criticise Shakespeare because he is the nation’s Bard but when I visit schools young people tell me that reading Shakespeare is a pain.
“The key is to get them to read about things which are relevant to their lives.”
He has called for the works of more modern authors such as Sue Townsend, who wrote the series of Adrian Mole books and died last month, to be taught in lessons.
The author, one-time Whitby curate, says the Government should fund schools to bring more writers into the classroom to inspire a love of storytelling among pupils.
He says that having authors and storytellers meeting children helps to get young people interested in reading.
“Authors are storytellers, they know how to get people interested in the story and I find that even when we are saying the same things as the teachers pupils will be more open to us as we are not their teacher.
“The problem is, of course, that authors cannot give up all of their time free of charge and so this costs money.
“I think it is something the Government should look at.
“Funding schools to ensure every pupil has the chance to meet authors and work with them. It makes a huge difference. I see it myself and other authors I speak to do as well.” He has also urged the Government to look to bring more modern writing into the curriculum.