Why You Should Read with Your Child – Book Week
16 August 2022
Happy Book Week! Read on for some handy tips to get your little one’s mind into the books and away from the screens.
Children need to read. It’s as important to their development as walking, playing or learning to look both ways before crossing the road. Reading helps children improve their social skills, vocabulary, imagination and prepares them for life, so it’s best to start early. With Book Week 2022 just around the corner, why not start now?
Studies have regularly shown that the parent’s role in raising readers is vital, so we’ve listed some handy tips to get you and your child back in the books!
Reading aloud to children is essential, even as soon as getting home from the hospital. This can’t be replaced by passive mediums such as television, YouTube videos or audiobooks. You need to be with your child, reading aloud to them. What you’re actually saying is irrelevant; you could be reading the contents of a tomato sauce bottle for all they know. What matters is how you emphasise words and form sentences to get your child understanding that those scribbly lines and dots have meaning.
While babies under two benefit from exposure to as many words and stories as possible, toddlers who are at reading age need structure. Establishing a daily reading time is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your little one. Picture books are particularly helpful at this age, as toddlers are fascinated by imagery and action over text.
This can be a great opportunity to read together, explain the morals of the story and relate the story’s events to your child’s own experiences.
And it’s not all about the cognitive and emotional benefits. These are precious moments with your child as you watch them mature into your little book club buddy.
Make it a Game
Reading time doesn’t always have to be sitting down to read a book. If you feel your child is losing interest or you just want to shake things up – make a game of it.
You can try Scrabble, Boggle, Bingo, Wordle or anything you like! Make sure to celebrate your child’s successes to keep them engaged. Remember, it may not always seem like they’re interested, but they may just be processing the information.
Read aloud and listen closely to their responses, even if they sound like complete gibberish! Babies and toddlers react to positive reinforcement. Today’s gibberish is tomorrow’s sentences and next week’s conversations.
While the cognitive benefits are well-documented, reading is about so much more than just making your child literate. It expands the imagination, develops their emotions and doesn’t hyperstimulate like smartphones or television.
To keep them reading, it’s important to introduce children to diverse styles, genres and authors as they mature. From children’s literature they can advance to adventure, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction and so much more!
A recent survey found that reading among children increased by as much as 89% from 2019 to 2020, a trend which continued in 2021 as children retained diverse reading habits:
‘As lockdowns started to lift, kids read more adventure and fantasy books, seeking out magic and mythical creatures. As they began spending more time exploring the world outside their homes, they also spent more time exploring new worlds in books.’
Book Week 2022
Each year the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) joins together with libraires, schools and community centres across the country to celebrate the wonders of reading. Teachers and students dress up, host competitions and create unique displays.
The CBCA adopts a new slogan each year with 2022’s proclaiming: Dreaming with Eyes Open.
We wholeheartedly embrace Book Week at Explorers Early Learning, encouraging the little ones to come to the Centres dressed as their favourite book character!
Some Books to Check Out for Book Week 2022!
If you’re looking for some inspiration to kickstart your reading, here are our picks from local authors and illustrators to get you started.
Your School is the Best! by Maggie Hutchings and illustrated by Felicita Sala
Only Maggie Hutchings and Felicita Sala could make a cockroach cute. In this charming, laugh-out-loud story, Hutchings cleverly crafts a tale of playful misfortune on everyone’s favourite cockroach’s first day of school.
Your School is the Best! teaches children to stay calm during a crisis and appreciate the differences in others. This is a wonderful picture book to read aloud with the little ones, especially those preparing for primary school or long day care. Try reading this together and pointing out the objects and colours in the classrooms while having some laughs along the way.
Bedtime Sorted! by Jimmy Rees and illustrated by Briony Stewart
Comedian and ABC children’s entertainer Jimmy Rees is at the peak of his powers with this hilarious picture book. Bedtime Sorted! follows a dad’s (mis)adventures in trying to get his boys to slumber down for the night. The hilarious antics are beautifully realised by award-winning illustrator Briony Stewart as she depicts a father’s spiral from optimistic to dismayed to exhausted.
The beauty of Bedtime Sorted! is its relatability (even if the dad is a platypus!). The struggle to get children to settle is something all parents have experienced. Rees and Stewart masterfully portray this challenge through striking visuals and poignant humour which earned Bedtime Sorted! a place on the 2022 shortlist for the ABIA (Australian Book Industry Awards) Children’s Picture Book of the Year.
Too Many Cats! by Maura Finn and illustrated by Lucinda Gifford
Percy is a curious, loveable dog that just wants a moment’s peace. There’s only one problem – there’s just too many cats in the house! They make a mess, scratch everything and hog Percy’s favourite spots to lounge… until Percy loses his cool.
Too Many Cats! uses whimsical rhymes and playful illustrations to bring this age-old rivalry to life. Children and adults alike are sure to love this delightful picture book which teaches children the value of sharing and respect. Animal lovers will really get a kick out of this one, so be sure to check out our blog post on how pets give children a cognitive boost.
Little Bont and the Big Secret by Marcus Bontempelli with Fiona Harris and illustrated by Megan Higgins
Western Bulldogs superstar Marcus Bontempelli teams up with award-winning author Fiona Harris to realise this beautiful story. Melbourne-based illustrator Megan Higgins’ breath-taking artistic style brings this tale to life, depicting a young Bontempelli grappling with the ethical battle of fessing up to his beloved Nanna Nancy after accidently breaking her favourite garden gnome.
Little Bont and the Big Secret teaches children the value of honesty and might even make you tear up as Bontempelli prefaces the book with a powerful dedication to his late Nanna. This picture book is a joy to read aloud with your child – especially for any budding superstars!
Reading is a vital part of growing up. It improves memory, concentration and even makes your child smarter. But it’s about so much more. Reading opens your child to a whole new world, whisking them away to faraway planets and otherworldly realms.
Be sure to get involved in Book Week 2022 by dressing up your little one as their favourite book character, hosting a reading group or just picking up a good book.
If you would like more information on how you can get involved in Book Week 2022, be sure to check out their website!