Is there anything as magical as being able to escape into a new world within the pages of a book? Exploring people and places through literacy is, even as adults, a beautiful gift and one that we as educators or parents can give to children from the moment they are born.
This week it is Book Week — there’s no better time to explore books and reading, and encourage children to get lost in books more often. As many people would agree, books can leave a lasting impression on us and create memories for life. Whether children are reading themselves, looking at pictures or having stories read to them by educators, parents and other carers, the benefits are undeniable.
According to research report by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, reading to children from a young age gives them a notable head-start in life. The research demonstrated that there was a direct causal effect between schooling outcomes and how often children are read to from a young age. Importantly, the report also highlighted that the differences are not related to the child’s family background or home environment.
The key findings of the research are as follows:
- Reading to children at age 4-5 every day has a significant positive effect on their reading skills and cognitive skills (i.e., language and literacy, numeracy and cognition) later in life.
- Reading to children 3-5 days per week (compared to 2 or less) has the same effect on the child’s reading skills at age 4-5 as being six months older.
- Reading to them 6-7 days per week has the same effect as being almost 12 months older.
- Children read to more frequently at age 4-5 achieve higher scores on the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests for both Reading and Numeracy in Year 3 (age 8 to 9).
Reading can introduce new experiences and situations to children, opening their minds to the world. Improved communication, vocabulary and general literacy skills are a result of reading too.
Additionally, reading with children is a powerful way to build and strengthen relationships.
With Grandparents Day coming up on Sunday 25 October, let’s not forget to support grandmas and grandpas to read with children. For many curling up with a book with their grandparents reading to them or with them will be a lifelong memory – plus it’s a special memory for grandparents too!
How are you celebrating Book Week? From dressing up as favourite book characters to sharing special books with one another, enjoy discovering the magic of books together and share with us here!