BEST-selling author Dame Jacqueline Wilson has urged schools to stop using books simply as "testing mechanisms" and to reinstate a "story hour".

The writer and former Children's Laureate, famous for her Tracy Beaker series of novels, has sold over 40 million copies of her books in the UK alone.

Dame Jacqueline, 71, who is backing a campaign to encourage summer holiday reading, said: "I think something as lovely and as simple as reading sometimes passes people by.

"I find it sad that often children don't have a story hour at school.

"It seems to be simply (that) books are used as a testing mechanism to see if you've understood it all. Then you're able to advance on to the next book.

"Books should be what you fancy reading and having great delight in getting into a story."

She added: "Nothing is more magical than seeing children peering up at you."

The authorwas launching an easyJet initiative, dubbed Flybraries, at Gatwick yesterday to encourage children to get into a good book by installing holiday reading libraries across its UK fleet this summer.

Dame Jacqueline has selected classics such as Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, The Railway Children and The Wizard of Oz for children to enjoy in-flight.