World Book Day

Posted on 7th March 2019

"Celebrate stories. Love Reading." is the strapline for World Book Day 2019.

Our role as parents and educators is to create suitable conditions for our children to want to celebrate stories and love reading. Dan Freedman, at a Booktrust event in Belfast this week, pointed out that not all children will want to read fantasty and fiction. Some will be drawn towards non-fiction books such as magazines or books about sport, machines, fashion, etc. And that's perfectly OK. Just as some adults don't like to read certain books or materials, children are exactly the same. They will all have their own preference. It is important that we, as adults, tune into what the children in our care are interested in, and then support them by sourcing reading materials of interest to them.

Sharing books is not just about supporting language development; it's a great way for families to bond and share special moments together. Can you imagine how a young child feels when an adult who is important to them takes time, sits closely and reads a story to them? I believe the child experiences a feeling of inner warmth and a high sense of well being; and as a result becomes more relaxed and more able to absorb new vocabulary and new information. It is important that fathers and male carers are also involved in reading and  telling stories.

From a very early age babies enjoy looking at pictures and recalling the positive words shared by their parents or carers. When you read stories with and to young children, have you noticed their attention to the minute detail? They see the insect or little mouse on the page! When my children were small, they loved Winnie the Pooh and the Beatrix Potter stories. I found these books quite difficult to read to small children and often wondered if they fully understood the language. But to my delight, at age 3, no words were too great! My children began to talk about going on an expedition, or about Peter disobeying his mother and nearly ending up in Mrs McGregor's pie like his father! The complex language was absorbed, stored and used accurately when the children were ready.

 

I have also learned that it is really important that we read the story before we read it to our children. Just take a few minutes to read through the book and get the overall gist of the story, so you know how to use your voice to enhance the story. You can also decide if the story is age and stage appropriate.

Remember that children love repetition and rarely get bored of the same book. It is as if they are hearing it for the first time. They love chanting out what is going to happen next. They know the book off by heart. They most likely cannot read the book out of context, but this is a huge step towards children becoming readers. 

 

Think about the following ways to present story, rhyme and song:
- Picture books with no text: just point out and name objects. Make up your own text.
- Books with words
- Home made books: Take a sequence of photos of your child doing a task. Place them in order in a simple booklet form. Children love to look at these photos and talk about the task - a really good way to help children to order events
- Comics, magazines, newspapers
- Tradtional tales
- Made up stories
- DVDs, CDS / Audio, Apps:  They are great on occasions, but remember that it is the postiive engagement of the adult that really makes the difference for children.
- Songs: You own favourites
- Made up songs to accompany routines in the home or school
- Nursery rhymes / Action ryhmes
 

 

Sharing books, stories, songs, rhymes and conversations with our children possibly has the greatest impact on the positive growth of our childrens brains.

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