The Gift of Reading – Celebrating Children’s Book Week

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty.  It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” —Kate DiCamillo
This year the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) will celebrate its 70th Anniversary from Saturday 22 August – Friday 28 August 2015.
Researchers have proven what parents and educators have intuitively known all along – the more often you read to your children from an early age, the greater the positive effect on their reading and thinking skills.  The study shows that there is an important role for parents/ educators in the development and educational performance of children. This early-life intervention seems to be beneficial for the rest of their lives.  (More information about the research can be found here: Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life
We all want our children to grow up with a strong grasp of literacy and numeracy, to have vivid imaginations and to enjoy curling up and getting lost in a book.
A recent article by Lori O’Keefe, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, 5 Benefits of Reading To and With Your Kids, explains how reading together makes a difference.

  • Build Relationships: Sharing the experience of reading a book together allows parent and child to create deeper bonds between them. Snuggling up with a book is a great way to spend time together and creates a unique, shared experience even as kids get older and ‘grow out of’ cuddling.
  • New Experiences: When kids read, they get to experience new situations before they encounter them in real life. If a child is scared about attending kindergarten, reading about it beforehand can ease the transition. It’s also a great way for kids to experience diversity and branch out from the environment and culture they were raised in. Reading about and relating to the experiences of other people is extremely helpful in the development of empathy.
  • Improved Communication: Reading together allows kids to be exposed to an increased vocabulary, speech patterns and enunciation. This superior command of language also affords children better communication skills.
  • Improved Concentration: Sure, kids don’t typically like to sit still and listen, but by reading to them, parents can help their children learn to focus and discipline. Story time rewards kids for stronger self-discipline, longer attention spans, and better memory retention. No one wants to miss “the good part” because they were squirming!
  • A Lifetime’s Love of Books: It’s never too early to start showing kids the joy to be found in a book.

Children’s Book Week is a great time to discuss books and encourage children to read more. Another way to celebrate is to dress-up as characters and act out favourite books verses in character. This allows children to really be involved and engage in dramatic dress-up play.
To incorporate craft and reading together here is a great list of costumes and craft activities children of all ages can be a part of : Kidspot, Pinterest and The Book Chook.
To read more about the importance of reading to young children click here:
To see the list of winners and shortlisted books click here:
Make sure you check your local paper for Children’s Book Week activities near you.

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