Welcome to March (and thank goodness January and February are over!) And as I've said about a million times, the first week of March brings me the most wonderful time of year...World Book Day; the time when we celebrate the joy of reading for pleasure and encourage and try to instill this important lifelong habit in children.
As part of its' mission, the brilliant World Book Day people have set up a Reading Revolution and want everyone to join in. The goal is share A MILLION STORIES! And would you believe, that goal has been met. At the time of my sitting here typing this, 1, 070, 515 stories have already been shared. That's only the first week! But that doesn't mean the work is done. There are so many more stories to share; so many more children (and their grown-ups) who need you to read to them and share your favourite stories...and get them to share their stories. It's urgently important...let's take a look at why.
In an article published 7 March, 2019, written by Annabel Robinson for  FMcM UK news (link below), new research by the Literacy Council for WBD2019 uncovered that significantly fewer children and young people said they enjoyed reading or were indeed reading daily outside the classroom for pleasure. This worrying decline is in fact a consistent trend, with percentages dropping year upon year. But why is this so alarming?

"Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success, more so than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or income."

Think about that for a minute. Reading for pleasure has more impact on a childs' future success than any other indicator we view as significant... ANY OTHER. It seems we are ignoring this most important factor for reasons unknown when it can make a huge difference in their future lives, and continue to do so even when there is something so simple that each one of us can do. Share a to your children. Don't just assume it's happening in schools and that that is enough. Clearly, it isn't.
Did you know that sharing a story with your children for just 10 minutes everyday; sitting down and reading with them can make a significant difference in their achievement levels (in every area!) ? It also has the greatest impact on the establishment of a childs' independent reading level and habits.
‘We know that a love of reading can transform a child’s future, helping them to do well at school, get a good job and live a happy and successful life – and yet these latest figures from the National Literacy Trust tell us that reading for pleasure is in long-term decline.'
(Kirsten Grant; Director of World Book Day)

But there are more reasons to Share A Story with our children, and I believe they are the most significant of all.
Reading with your children at home helps them develop emotionally; feeding a sense of security, value and love. It takes time and focused attention as you both leaf through the pages of a story. Your child really gets the understanding that you are interested in them; you want to share with them. And when they turn it around and want to read to you...let them! They are returning the gift of time, attention, security and love to you. Taking even those 10 minutes a day to read together makes you both happier people.
The impact of sharing a story at home; having a consistent, daily storytime with your children cannot be underestimated, as the innumerable studies on the matter have shown. Reading allows them to develop empathy and a clearer understanding of the world around them; all from the security of your lap and the sound of your voice. It helps them explore. They develop imagination, fire their curiosity and creative thinking as they see such a variety of situations, problems and solutions presented to them. Reading with your child gives them ideas of how to think; how to respond. It teaches them a very safe and secure way for children to learn to confidently express and think about their emotions and how to understand the emotions of others.
Sharing A Story with children is such a gift, for all concerned.

‘When we read a book with children, then children – no matter how stressed, no matter how challenged – are drawn out of themselves to bond with other human beings, and to see and feel the experiences of others.  I believe that it is this moment that makes us human.  In this sense, reading makes us human.’
(Anna Dewdney; children's author of Llama, Llama, Red Pajama & others)

I also want to mention one other thing very quickly. Children are brilliant mimics. They may not always do what you say. But children do what they see. Every time. If they see you on the phone, that is what they will want to do. So...let your children see you read for pleasure. Let them see you sit down with a book every day. They will want to do that, too and the next thing you know, you have a happy, confident bookworm on your hands, reading for pleasure and turning into a confident, well-balanced adult.
Isn't it time to Share A Story?

If you want to get involved in the World Book Day 2020 Reading Revolution project, there's still time. Just follow the link.


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