How do you encourage children to read? This government has a variety of theories - from synthetic phonics to worksheets to closing local libraries - but not many of them seem to involve the old-fashioned book. Nor do they involve children's authors, who are easily dismissed from such debates. But there is, as Michael Rosen explains on page 48, one foolproof method: "Every piece of research from anywhere in the world points towards getting children to read independently, at home, widely, often and for pleasure." As a former children's laureate, author of more than 100 books and someone who spends much of his life in schools talking to children, Rosen knows what he's talking about. Perhaps it's time politicians listened.