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Image of World Book Day Focus: The Love of Reading

World Book Day Focus: The Love of Reading

It’s no secret that children who read widely and regularly tend to achieve better in school, not just in Literacy, but across the curriculum. With this in mind, is it a concern that the 2019 KS2 SAT results showed that only 73% of pupils achieved the expected standard in reading and only 75% of children achieved the expected standard in reading at the end of KS1? Why is one quarter of children in the UK leaving primary school unable to read to the expected level? Even taking into consideration those children with special educational needs who perhaps need additional support with reading, this still feels like a big percentage. It’s too easy to scapegoat our schools and teachers who work tirelessly to meet the needs of their children so perhaps we need to look for answers in those vital early years.

Fostering a love of reading from an early age is fundamental to beating these statistics. Children entering school with a firm foundation in sharing books will have already developed some of the vital skills needed to learn to read, and indeed, listen and communicate. As Early Years Practitioners, we need to be making parents aware that the term ‘reading’ does not simply imply the decoding of words but the sharing of stories and setting a daily routine of reading or looking at books is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child.

Sharing stories is not just an opportunity to spend time with your children but it also improves concentration, listening and develops vocabulary and language skills. Reading helps develop children’s imagination, but it is not just a skill to enhance their play, but also essential for writing tasks later in their school career. Books are a window into the outside world, a world beyond children’s own experiences and offers opportunities to explore feelings and develop empathy.

So, while we’re planning for World Book Day this year, perhaps there is an opportunity for us to reflect on how we can support parents in creating a love of reading for their children. According to the Literacy Trust, 1 in 8 disadvantaged children in the UK say that they don’t have a book of their own. In this world of libraries, second hand books shops, e-books (to just name a few), that is a statistic that should be easy to beat – the key is identifying the families that need the additional support. A childhood full of books and stories is surely one of life’s basic needs.

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