World Book Day

Thursday, 02 March 2017

Are you an avid reader? Do you want to encourage your kids or grandkids to follow in your footsteps? It’s World Book Day on Thursday, 2nd March so now could be the perfect time…

What is World Book Day?

Set up in 1995, World Book Day is an annual event that seeks to celebrate books, authors, illustrators and reading. It isn’t just popular in the UK, children from over a hundred countries take part.

In the UK, it’s a day when children dress up as their favourite book characters and schools run special reading events, often with a visiting author. Every child in the UK receives a book token which allows them to pick up a free book from a select range or have £1 off any book they like (from participating book shops).

Why does reading matter?World Book Day

Studies have shown that a child who loves reading and reads for pleasure will be more likely to excel academically, be more sociable, have more empathy for others and have more self-confidence than a child who only meets the minimum reading expectations at school.[1] When a child reads a fiction book, they imagine what it’s like to be in the life situations that the characters go through, which helps them know what to do if they’re ever confronted with the situations in reality.[2]

How can I get involved?

World Book Day is a fabulous day as it gets children excited about books but if you really want your children or grandkids to develop a love of reading for the weeks, months and years ahead you’ll have think of ways to keep their enthusiasm for the written word going. To help here are some suggestions:

  • Read the books you loved as a child to your kids or grandkids. From Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man to Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Nina Bawden’s Carrie’s War to Clive King’s Stig of the Dump, there will be a book to grab your child’s attention. They’ll love listening to you read and it can be a great bonding time too.

  • Write your own book together. It could be a collection of short stories, something autobiographical or something else entirely. It can be a good project to work on together during the holidays and you can have fun illustrating the book together too.

  • Go on regular trips with your kids or grandkids to their local library. They’ll love having the freedom to choose 10+ books to take home and most libraries hold special events such as Harry Potter days which encourage children to read modern classics and have summer reading challenges involving reward charts, stickers and quizzes!

  • Ask questions after you’ve read a book together, to see if they’re following the story or understand some of the more complicated words that you/they read. This will expand their vocabulary and get their brains working, especially if you ask them to come up with alternative endings or what they think the next story in the series should be about.

  • Talk about the books you’re reading and things you’ve read in normal conversation. For instance, when you pick them up from school you could tell them about an interesting newspaper article you’ve read or how you can’t wait to finish the mystery book you’re reading to find out what happens.

If you know a child who says they don’t like reading because it’s boring, it might be that they’ve not discovered the right kind of books for them. Boys in particular can benefit from reading non-fiction, whether it’s the biography of their favourite footballer, an encyclopaedia of Marvel characters, a travel guide to the place they’re going on holiday or even 1001 jokes. You just need to find a book that they don’t want to put down and a love of reading will develop with perseverance!

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