Shop H.E. Bates Online
ID
cx108
Title
"Learning to Read at Four -- Nothing Exceptional?"
Genre
Essay
Page Count
1
Word Count
250
Publisher
Daily Telegraph
Publication Year
1964
Document Types
Full-text Online
Autobiographical
Eads, Additions to
Letters

Evidently responding to a previous article, Bates asks "Is there really something exceptional about a child being able to read at the age of seven?" He recalls reading at the age of four, as did his eldest daughter (Ann Catharine) and goes on to say that "only a few days ago my eldest granddaughter, aged four and a half, sat on my knee and read to me with a fair degree of fluency after only one term at school. She thus emulates her brother, who could read well at the same age and who now, at the age of seven, takes a national newspaper in his stride before breakfast..." (referring to grandchildren Beverley and Andrew).

Following the publication of Bates's letter, the BBC radio program "Woman’s Hour" enlisted the journalist and editor of Puffin Books, Kaye Webb, to interview H.E’s young granddaughter. Unfortunately for Miss Webb, the four-year-old Beverley was overcome with shyness and refused to play along; the shy girl later became the actress Victoria Wicks. Ten years earlier Bates had written an introduction to The Lovers' Pocketbook (Les Amoureux de Peynet), a book edited by Webb. In regard to son Andrew's ability to read the Times at a young age, his mother reported that as an adult he was, to his regret, unable to recall the paper’s reports of the infamous sexual scandal of the day, the Profumo affair.

In the Daily Telegraph (August 4, 1964).


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