By Guest Contributer Nicole Baker
Book Week celebrates Australian children’s literature and promotes the value of books for the education, enjoyment and enlightenment of children. Across the nation, children, educators and families are invited to take part in Book Week between the 17th and 23rd October 2020. This year’s theme of Curious Creatures, Wild Minds encourages children to expand their imagination through their curiosity!
Children are innately curious and imaginative beings and are eager to make new discoveries. Marvelling in a fictional world of infinite possibilities opens their minds to astounding adventures, magical mysteries and exciting escapades. Opportunities to build new knowledge through non-fiction texts are endless as children can explore their own interests.
Throughout Book Week, children have the opportunity to participate in a range of experiences to celebrate books and learn about Australian authors and illustrators. Becoming familiar with the writing and artwork of both past and present authors and illustrators highlights their wonderful work and unique contribution to children’s literature.
As children’s first teachers, families are in an advantageous position to read to their child from birth and in turn positively influence their future educational outcomes. Establishing a regular reading routine enables families and children to form a love for sharing books together. When reading aloud, families form closer bonds and create a nurturing environment, fostering a sense of belonging and wellbeing.
This is how to develop a child’s love of reading at home:
- Make reading part of your everyday routine.
- Ensure children have open access to books.
- Connect with your local library.
- Immerse children in a literacy-rich environment, both indoors and outdoors.
- Provide a comfortable, quiet place to read together.
- Converse with children throughout the story with open-ended questions and descriptive language.
- Aim to read at least three books per day (which equates to over 1000 a year)!
Book Week presents a time to celebrate favourite characters from classics through to contemporary books. While children are engaged in a range of fun activities to celebrate Book Week, families are reminded of the ongoing benefits of early reading for future success.
The benefits of books for children:
Fosters a love of reading
Reading with children nurtures a love of language and literacy. An association between caring adult interactions and books is developed from an early age. Children learn to appreciate reading as a time of enjoyment, relaxation and pleasure.
Sitting and cuddling together with a book creates a relaxed, calm feeling where bonds are strengthened and quality interactions occur. Open conversations relating to the story offers a platform to build positive relationships and encourage a sense of wellbeing.
Develops literacy skills
Reading develops new vocabulary, phonemic awareness, comprehension and concepts of print. Exploring features of language and literacy teaches children skills to support them in becoming proficient readers.
Modelling language encourages children to utilise new vocabulary and conversational skills within their everyday interactions. Children will establish a connection between the spoken and written word.
Stimulates brain development
Between birth and three years is a critical time in the development of language skills. Early reading expands the linguistic structure in the brain and improves memory and concentration.
Develops new knowledge
Books are informative and open children’s minds to diverse people, places and situations. Both familiar and unfamiliar concepts across a range of different subjects can be explored through fiction and non-fiction books.
The advantages of regular early reading are well documented for both the immediate and long-term positive effects on children’s education, wellbeing, relationships and overall development. Children’s lives are enriched with the inclusion of quality literature together with regular shared reading opportunities with supportive, nurturing adults!