Today is World Book Day 2021!
This is a fantastic initiative that I’m 100% behind. Its mission is to promote reading for pleasure to kids around the world, saying that it’s ‘the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income’.
I completely agree with this and I believe it’s important to start reading to your child as early as possible. While it may feel a bit silly to read aloud to a 4-month-old who isn’t understanding a word you’re saying, it gets you in the habit of doing it for when your child is older. Plus, their brain is already developing the fundamentals of language before they can even speak. The more words they hear, the more words they’ll ultimately start to learn.
Reading has always been a massive part of my life and I want the same for Noah. I vividly remember when I was first learning to properly read, lying in bed with a Biff, Chip and Kipper book and suddenly realising that I understood the words. When a child finally learns to read, it opens up a whole new magical world for them. Until then, parents should take the time to read to their kids. We do with Noah, and while it may not seem like he’s always listening, he’s definitely still taking in the words (and he’s getting pretty good at words too, as I wrote about in this post).
As the years rolled by, I’d be that kid who tried to read with a light under his covers, frantically turning it off when I heard one of my parents coming upstairs. I fell in love with the worlds on the page. They allowed my imagination to run wild while also teaching me a hell of a lot about life. I was always baffled when a friend would say to me that they never read books, other than what they had to for school. Reading for pleasure was a foreign concept when TV and video games existed, and I imagine that maybe their parents didn’t read to them much as a child. While I love TV and video games things too, one of my favourite parts of the day was climbing in bed with a good book at night – and still is – even if it cost me a couple of hours of sleep.
To help Noah develop a love for books, we’ve made sure that our house is filled with books. We’ve got three bookcases upstairs and a bookcase downstairs, which is a feat considering that we don’t live in a large house. One of the bookcases is a smaller one in Noah’s room, and it’s now rammed full of books. Some of the books may be for kids a few years older than him, but we’re planning ahead. Just look at him getting a book from it here:
Whenever he goes into his bedroom, he’ll always run over and grab a book off the shelf (ok, usually more than one!). He’ll then flick through it to look at all the pictures, and we’ll read it to him on the floor or when he’s in his cot.
When the lockdown is over and our local library opens to visitors again, I can’t wait to take Noah there to browse through the children’s section. Hell, I can’t wait to go there just for myself. I love the library and regularly have around 4 or 5 books out at a time. It’s a great way to read without spending a fortune (which I end up doing anyway, as I still buy books) and also supports a valuable institution that should be a part of every community.
I’ll write more on libraries in the future, because I really want to stress how much we should support them. For now, remember to read to your kids. It will expand their minds and help them develop into a well-rounded, intelligent adult. Plus, you may just unlock a passion that will be with them for life, and you may just catch them reading a book instead of watching mindless YouTube videos of people unboxing toys.
My wife, Alexandra, also posted about World Book Day on her blog. You can read it here.