It’s World Book Day on 7th March and this year’s theme is “Share A Story” – share the book that inspired you as a child with your children. Isn’t that a lovely idea?
I’ve written before that in these hectic times many parents spend less than an hour a day’s quality time with their kids – that’s if you can get them off their gadgets, that is!
But World Book Day is a great chance to pause, reflect and celebrate the fabulous imaginary world that books can transport us to – where we get a chance to develop our imagination and creative skills, as well as our vocabulary. Fortnite doesn’t really cut it on that basis, does it?
And with the hideous Momo doing the rounds again, many parents are discovering that what their kids are watching is far from suitable – and in some cases just plain terrifying – a problem you’ll never get with a good book.
The benefits of reading to your child on a daily basis are many. Caitlin and Ieuan’s headmistress always incites us to remember the school motto “read, read, read!” and she reminds us frequently that what our kids learn in school amounts to roughly 30% of their education. The remaining 70% takes place at home. Certainly food for thought!
Here are some more thought-provoking statistics to ponder – 65% of 5-7-year-olds read to themselves when they are read to every day or nearly every day.
A whopping 73% of 8-13-year-olds read to themselves when they are read to every day or nearly every day.
Interesting, isn’t it? Because how many of us parents are still reading to our children over the age of 7. It’s tempting to think that once they can read then off they go but that is not the case.
Reading to our kids helps to stimulate reading for pleasure and, at the end of the day, provides a welcome opportunity to chat and snuggle with our children – helping them to drift off to sleep.
We know that the blue light emitted from tablets interferes with sleep patterns, hence the advice to put gadgets away at least an hour before bed – and that applies to ALL of us!
Far better then, to do what Caitlin and Ieuan do and that is to take a book to bed. Tom Gates, Diary of A Wimpy Kid and the Alex Rider series are all current favourites.
The report, “Let’s Read Them A Story! The Parent Factor in Education, OECD 2012” says the following:-
“Regardless of a family’s income, children whose parents read to them when they were just starting school develop a greater sense of enjoyment of reading than those whose parents did not read to them or read to them infrequently”.
Reading for pleasure is linked to the following benefits when it comes to our children’s literacy according to the National Literacy Trust.
- reading and writing ability
- text comprehension and grammar
- wider vocabulary
- greater self-confidence as a reader
It has been found that children who read for enjoyment are likely to do significantly better in school than their peers and has been linked to other learning outcomes such as higher performance in maths and science.
We are all pushed for time these days but even reading to our children for as little as 10 minutes a day will help to develop these skills.
I recently read that some parents won’t read out loud to their kids because they lack confidence. This baffles me somewhat because I’m sure the same parents have no problems telling their offspring to eat their tea, pick those wet towels up and stop tormenting the cat.
Perhaps the best place to start is to choose a book that inspired you as a child and share a story with them this way. I loved Kenneth Graeme’s Wind In The Willows with mischievous Mr Toad or how about Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five or The Secret Seven?
I also loved Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boy Mysteries and, later, the classics – Jane Austen and novels by the Bronte Sisters.
That’s the thing about reading. Whilst there are certain topics you wouldn’t want your kids necessarily reading about at a young age, in general, what they can read is governed by practice, rather than age – with sensible parental supervision of course.
Or how about some of these?
- Steve and the Sabretooth Tiger or Steve and the Singing Pirates [Steve’s Dreams] by Dan Anthony
- Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury by Jennifer Killick
- Peter and the Five-a-side Vampires by Malachy Doyle
- Thimble Holiday Havoc or Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake
- The Very Silly Dog, Why is the sky blue? or No I don’t wanna do that! by Nick Cope
- Gaspard the fox by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew
And, once your children are into the swing of reading and are happily devouring as many stories as they can get their hands on, why not suggest that they begin to write their own stories. You’ll be amazed at what they come up with – and it’s a great insight into how they think, their hopes and fears.
Do you read to your children? What story will you share this World Book Day?