— Press Association (@PA) September 24, 2015
David Walliams read an excerpt from Roald Dahl’s classic The BFG to primary pupils as he launched a government campaign to get more children reading.
The actor and popular children’s author has joined education secretary Nicky Morgan in a bid to make English pupils the most literate in Europe in five years.
The pair visited Charles Dickens Primary School in South London to urge all those involved in education, including parents, to encourage children to read more.
Walliams joined Ms Morgan in reading from The BFG before reading an extract from his own book Gangsta Granny.
Afterwards, Walliams said: “I love reading to kids. You actually get a very honest reaction from children and they only laugh if it’s something funny.”
He added: “I have a huge passion for reading. When you become a children’s author it comes with some responsibility as well, because you want to encourage as many children to read as possible.
“And you realise there’s lots of children who might not have access to books, or perhaps in their family environment it’s not a household that has books.”
Walliams wants primary schools to set up book clubs and for those clubs to receive free books.
The star said he believed books could transform lives, adding: “Books can change the way you think and feel about something.”
Walliams added that he wasn’t overly bothered about what children read as long as they found something they wanted to read, suggesting that if a boy wanted to read a book containing facts and figures about trucks then that was fine.
“As long as they’re reading and enjoying books, because it’s going to help them so much in later life if they have a good level of literacy,” he said. “We’ve got such brilliant children’s authors in this country and it would be very sad to think we fell behind as a country with encouraging children to read, because we’ve got such a brilliant literary tradition. And so for me, it’s one of the most important things to encourage children to do.”