Reading is such an important activity for children. Children are naturally inquisitive and growing up reading and listening to stories remains a big part of their education and childhood. Charlotte's Web, Harry Potter, The Twits are just a few books which stand out to me personally as definitive stories from my childhood.
Whilst the storyline and characters are the initial things that a child takes from stories, it may be that some of the biggest qualities were subconscious. Learning new words, expanding children’s vocabularies and growing their confidence with reading aloud are all hugely important skills to have in adulthood. Reading is a key activity which develops these skills, and perhaps visualising the words in an actual book helps children to understand what it means and how you use the word in relation to real life situations.
Reading helps children improve their concentration and teaches them about different scenarios that can take place in the world. Children’s stories tend to be fiction-based and by reading a variety of books, this grows a child’s imagination and creativity. Encouraging children to enjoy reading and a parent modelling their joy for reading plays a big role in inspiring children to read for pleasure. This will only enhance their vocabulary and conceptual understanding of the world.
It is also important to note that reading for pleasure has the biggest positive impact of any factor on a child's life opportunities. It will have more influence than a child's exam scores or their parents' socio-economic status. Low literacy levels costs the UK economy £36 billion per year and, according to the Department of Education, 1 in 4 children currently leave primary school unable to read at the expected level. This is why Bookmark Reading Charity exists and the need for reading volunteers continues to grow.
Here are some of my favourite books which I have enjoyed reading with children recently (and they have loved them too more importantly!):
‘Giraffes Can't Dance’ by Giles Andreae (Lovely bedtime story for 2+ years old and 5-7 years old as independent readers)
‘Luna Loves Dance’ by Joseph Coelho (Great bedtime story for 3-6 year olds)
'The Bear and The Piano' by David Litchfield (Lovely story for 2+ years old and 5-8 year olds for to spark discussions about sense of belonging, courage, perseverance and wellbeing)
'The Butterfly Lion' by Michael Morpurgo (Wonderful book for children aged 7 - 11 years old to enjoy)
Introducing books to children from an early age will help them to develop a love of reading that will hopefully last them throughout their life.
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