By Elise Vipond on 21 Apr 2022
This year’s World Book Night will take place Saturday 23rd April. World Book Night is a celebration of books and reading for pleasure. To encourage everyone to share the joys of reading, especially those of us who don’t read enough, World Book Night invites everyone to join them for a Reading Hour at 7.00pm on Saturday evening.
Reading for pleasure is incredibly powerful, especially for children. Books have amazing potential to help children relate to the world around them and, as discussed in our previous blog, they can be used to start conversations about challenging topics and current events that are happening around the world.
However, in the last decade, the number of children who read books for pleasure daily, or nearly every day, has dropped from thirty-eight percent to just a quarter, as children turn to their screens for entertainment instead. But it is never too late to instil a love of reading in our children.
Lead by example
A new report finds 1 in 5 children never read for pleasure. With homework, chores, and friends to catch up with, sometimes reading can be a low priority, especially if children underestimate the joy that reading can bring. As adults with busy schedules, it can be just as hard for us to find the time to dedicate to reading, but the best thing we can do to promote reading to children is leading by example. Reading is great for relaxation and mental wellbeing. When children see us read for pleasure, their perception of reading can be transformed and help them to establish positive reading habits for themselves.
Make reading a part of everyday life
Reading as often as you can with children helps to cultivate healthy habits that grow with time. Even a few minutes of reading a day can make a huge difference to their future and educational outcomes. Whether it is during the morning register, at the end of the school day, or just before bed, books can be enjoyed at anytime. So, make sure children always have a book on hand to enjoy whenever a quiet moment arrives.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a child has to read a highbrow novel to reap the benefits of reading. Whether they prefer reading comic books, graphic novels, even a joke book - it all counts. If you are having trouble finding texts to get children engaged, a recent blog by Laura Lodge gives some fantastic examples of some great literature you can read aloud with children.
Support your local library
Visiting your local library is a fantastic way to encourage a love of reading. Research reports a link between library use and reading for pleasure; young people that use their public library are nearly twice as likely to be reading outside of class every day. Visiting the library is a great opportunity for children to explore all the amazing books on offer and immerse themselves within a reading culture that they can share with friends and family.
Form a powerful bond
Reading regularly together can help to build strong relationships with children, fostering a sense of trust and confidence that allows us to support them in other areas of their development and wellbeing. Author Smriti Halls, a previous keynote at our sixth annual Literacy Conference in 2021, talks about how important the act of reading is in forming a bond with children. “A parent reading to them is the most influential, brilliant thing you can do. A child being read to by the people they love, admire and respect the most is profound.”
We hope you have a great World Book Night and enjoy a lovely Reading Hour - or maybe two or three! But make sure you keep up the habit to nurture the next generation of readers. If you would like any support or advice, please visit our School Development or Literacy pages to see how we can help.