The Power Of Reading: The World Book Day Effect…
With less parents taking the time to read to their children and with this then impacting the child’s independent reading, it comes as little surprise that a quarter of the country’s children wouldn’t own a book without the World Book Day initiative.
But what is causing us to spend less time on sharing books with our children? Have we lost our confidence, or are we perhaps over-wrought by social media? Is it possible that our brains are so over-stimulated by the constant use of social media and the speed of technology, that we cannot sit down to read a book?
Books vs Screens
Research has shown that reading relaxes us, it’s fulfilling and it’s a form of escapism. Yet bedtime for many of us has become an inner battle between our phones and a book. We are like moths to that addictive, deadly blue light. We often choose to scroll through the news or social media on our phones, rather than pick up a physical book and read it. Our children however, don’t have to be afflicted with the blue light danger yet; we can influence this decision and give them an option kinder to their eyes — and more importantly a different kind of engagement for their minds.
So here are some tips, based on recent research ‘Reading Street’ by Egmont Publishing on making books fun and an integral part of life with our kids:
Making Books Available
Sitting down to read a book with a child is a joyous experience, but if books were not readily available to you during your own childhood, reading with your children may not be something you’re comfortable with. It’s not so much that books are not accessible — libraries are still here for us and fighting to remain so! And bookshops have all sorts going on in terms of community. Here are some great examples of innovative bookshops dedicated to their local communities and worth a visit if you’re in the area:
Newham Bookshop, London: Founded in 1978, Newham Bookshop has been running for 39 years. In these days when the going is hard for many small businesses, and for independent bookshops in particular, it is a significant achievement for a bookshop to survive for such a time, and Newham Bookshop isn’t just surviving, it’s positively thriving with a school and family community.
Tales on Moon Lane, London: A multi award-winning children’s bookshop committed to inspiring a life-long love of reading. “We believe in fantastic first-rate customer service and have children and families at the heart of everything we do.”
The Alligator’s Mouth, London: “The Alligator’s Mouth is an independent children’s bookshop in Richmond, Surrey. We offer a wide range of carefully chosen stock (from baby to young adult), expert advice and recommendations in a welcoming environment. Our mission is to reach all readers: the confident, the beginner, and the reading-resistant.”
The Bright Emporium, London: This is a book shop and gallery, dedicated to authors and illustrators represented by us, The Bright Agency. Still very much a fledgling organisation, the emporium now runs events and creative workshops for children on a regular basis, and has built up a wonderful community of families within the Battersea area.
Stories Bookshop, Brooklyn, NYC: A small family business, founded, owned and operated by husband and wife team Matt Miller and Maggie Pouncey. As founders and parents they believe that a love of stories and storytelling is one of the best life-long gifts you can give your children.
Books of Wonder, NYC: Founded in 1980, Books of Wonder is New York City’s largest and oldest children’s bookstore and the city’s leading specialist in children’s literature.
And for library inspiration, you can read about some of the best libraries for children in and around London by kidsfunlondon.co.uk here, and this fantastic blog article: Around the World in 11 Astonishing Kids’ Libraries shows some of the most remarkable buildings dedicated to children’s books. Credit to Lostmy.name
Pictured here: Cerritos Millennium Library, California (photo credit: daretothink)
Why World Book Day works
These bookshops, libraries and wonderful charity initiatives like World Book Day are making sure that books are present and available, so no matter your circumstances, you can get your hands on a book — well more than one in fact.
World Book Day is a small, independent charity, funded by their sponsor, National Book Tokens as well as publishers and booksellers.
“Our message now is the same as when we were founded 20 years ago: to give children access to books and to show that reading is fun, accessible, exciting and has the power to transform lives.
We want every child and young person to explore the wonderful world of books and bookshops, and the many amazing places.”
Picture books are such an incredible aid for growth in so many areas. A child’s brain is just waiting to be filled with knowledge and language, words and pictures. A child loves hearing their parent’s voice and the time and intimacy in sharing a story and discovering something new together. Children learn through stories — it can be easier to teach valuable morals and lessons with the visual aid and engagement of a picture book.
If you’re looking for good resources: BBC Teach has some valuable articles about reading, books and more here.