Today marks World Book Day and parents across the country will no doubt have been spending their evening/s trying to rustle up an amazing costume that resembles their child’s favourite literary character. Or if you’re one of the lucky ones, perhaps your child is allowed to wear pyjamas to school and bring in their favourite book to share with the class. For many parents though, this may have felt like a chore (especially if you have just opened your child’s school bag last night and discovered a crumpled up letter with the dreaded ‘c word’ on it…costume). It’s important to remember why we celebrate World Book Day, and that its main aim is to develop a love of books and get children reading!
There are so many incredible authors and brilliant books available these days. We are all guilty of spending too much time staring at screens, so picking up a good book and getting lost in the story, is one of life’s pleasures. It is something that we should be modelling to our kids on a daily basis, even if it is just for five minutes – because let’s face it, there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes!
As a primary school teacher, I could shout from the rooftops about the importance of reading, especially during a child’s early years. Since becoming a Mum, I can also see the overwhelming effect reading with my nearly-two-year-old son has had on his vocabulary, listening and comprehension skills. Reading with him every day has brought him on in so many ways, but most importantly, it’s given him a real enjoyment and love of books at his very young age.
Reading with children will come so naturally for some, but it can be unchartered territory to others! With being a teacher, people will often ask me for recommendations or advice about speaking and listening with children, as well as for book recommendations and activities. In January this year, I decided to start an Instagram page called @booksformytoddler filled with top tips for reading with children, book reviews and recommendations of stories that we have enjoyed together. The page is primarily aimed at babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, but I also post about books I have enjoyed with my Year 3 class too!
One of the things I love to do is incorporate play with reading, to spark my son’s interest and make it even more fun! It might be as simple as leaving a book with a few figures out for him to discover in the morning, or I might set up some of his teddies to look like they’re reading books, or a pretend tea party based on a book, or perhaps a jigsaw or craft activity to do before or after reading together. These activities are always simple, put together with toys we already have in the house and easy to set up and tidy away! Anything that will spark his interest and incorporate plenty of speaking and listening opportunities is the key!
Reading with your child should never be a chore or feel forced, and it doesn’t just have to be done at bedtime! Five minutes is plenty of time, but even longer is also brilliant too. Get everyone in the family involved in taking turns with reading to your little one, it doesn’t just have to be Mum! Head to my Instagram page @booksformytoddler for more advice, ideas and easy tips to follow about reading with children. And Happy World Book Day! Think of me today, teaching my lovely class, whilst dressed in a giraffe onesie (although this giraffe can dance!)
by Katy B