Full of char­ac­ter

Why, writes Julie Lu­cas, the 21st World Book Day could be the most mem­o­rable yet

EDP Norfolk - - Education -

ON March 1, as you head out in the morn­ing, you may see Where’s Wally. He may be ac­com­pa­nied by Pippi Long­stock­ing and, down the street, Roald Dahl’s Matilda will be skip­ping to school. It’s on this day that chil­dren bring their favourite sto­ry­book char­ac­ters to life for World Book Day.

This year the char­ity marks 21 years. The mis­sion is sim­ple: to cel­e­brate read­ing for plea­sure and en­cour­age chil­dren and young peo­ple to read and love books. Dur­ing the past 20 years World Book Day UK has dis­trib­uted over 275 mil­lion £1 book to­kens, and over 1.2 mil­lion £1 book to­kens were redeemed last year, en­abling one in four chil­dren to buy their first book and rais­ing £650,000 for char­ity.

The idea came from Baroness Gail Re­buck in re­sponse to con­cern about read­ing stan­dards in chil­dren. To­day it has be­come a global phe­nom­e­non and, ac­cord­ing to di­rec­tor Kirsten Grant, is as im­por­tant to­day as ever. “It’s about cre­at­ing read­ers for the fu­ture by ig­nit­ing a love of books and read­ing,” she says. “Chil­dren’s books are do­ing in­cred­i­bly well at the mo­ment and we re­ally are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a golden age.”

This year 11 ti­tles are be­ing re­leased to ap­peal to all ages in­clud­ing the young adult mar­ket.

The im­pact is clear: bond­ing with your child, open­ing up a world of imag­i­na­tion and in­creased lit­er­acy

The £1 books, free when redeemed against the World Book Day to­ken, in­clude BBC’s Great Bri­tish Bake Off win­ner Nadiya Hus­sain, who has penned Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story, and pre­sen­ter Clare Bald­ing’s The Girl Who Thought She Was A Dog. Favourites Mr Men, Paddington and Marvel’s The Avengers are also re­leas­ing mini books es­pe­cially to mark the event. Grant says that al­though chil­dren are spend­ing more time than ever be­fore on­line, there is still a love of read­ing phys­i­cal books over read­ing ebooks. The im­pact that read­ing has is clear; bond­ing with your child, open­ing up a world of imag­i­na­tion and in­creased lit­er­acy. “We want to en­cour­age guardians, par­ents, grand­par­ents, sib­lings and friends to ‘Share a Story’ by read­ing to­gether, for just 10 min­utes a day,” Grant says. “By do­ing this, they should see the pos­i­tive im­pact that read­ing to­gether can have not only on a child’s life out­come, but on those who are shar­ing a story with chil­dren too.”

Ac­cord­ing to stud­ies car­ried out by the BookTrust, chil­dren who read for plea­sure are likely to do bet­ter at school, as well as be more so­cially, cul­tur­ally and emo­tion­ally pre­pared for life. A 2015 study showed that read­ing en­joy­ment was more im­por­tant for a child’s ed­u­ca­tional suc­cess than their fam­ily’s fi­nan­cial or so­cial sta­tus.

Grant adds: “This is why we need as many par­ents and chil­dren to use their £1 book to­ken in 2018. It is a pass­port that will un­lock new worlds.”

World Book Day at West Lynn Pri­mary School

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