Today, March 1st, is World Book Day.
Pssssst! Hey, you. Other countries out there. Is today actually World Book Day? I need to know and I don’t want to wikipedia it up at this hour. I just need you to tell me. Is the UK lying about the “World” part?
I’ve seen little hints of it here and there. Special events highlighted in the local bookshop window, parents franctically begging and pleading for tips from others about how they can create that crucial favourite character costume for school. Personally, I’d like to see a six year old dressed as Voldemort. Perhaps one could use some Scotch tape to secure their nose to a flattened position. How creepy would that be?
World Book Day is a great idea. You may not know this about the Old Foreigner, but I’m a trained teacher and I especially loved learning about how to help children engage with books. I honestly believe that it’s always a great idea to get children (and adults!) excited about reading, and with the events and activities surrounding World Book Day, I’m sure it will be exciting for many children across the country to think about their favourite characters, authors and books throughout today.
But here’s the thing – World Book Day doesn’t create lifelong readers. And I’d argue that even with the most enthusiastic educators in the world, it is quite unusual for teachers to achieve that mammoth task of fostering a love for books in the 270 odd days they spend with your child either. If you want your child to have any chance to be a lifelong reader – an attribute that will fuel their imagination, widen their horizons, and build within them solid foundations for their future in education, then that responsibility lies firmly in your hands.
Read to your child. Put that iPad down. Take your eyes off of the TV. Stop checking facebook. Stop scrolling through Tweets. Divert your attention away from the household chores. Pick up a book and teach your child how to get lost in it. Get lost together.
Fill your house with books. Instead of buying yourself another Caramel Macchi-Frappe-Latte, use those few pounds to go down to the local bookshop to see what’s on offer. Don’t just tell your children reading is important, show them it is. Show them that it’s worth spending a pound (or dollar) or two on them.
Tonight, we read When It’s Time for Bed by Nick Butterworth, the creator of the Percy the Park Keeper books. This simplistic, lovely book is one of four board books in this new series. In it Sam goes through the routine of preparing for bed, with his six stuffed animal friends in tow. They are all things we do with The Duchess. They are every day simple things, but it is in these simple things that we find the most joy in being with her – her huge splashes in the bath while she grins in a self-satisfied kind of way, giggling as I hold her and we brush our teeth together as we look in the mirror, and sitting on her Daddy’s knee as they share 1, 2 …(ahem) 5 bedtime stories. Stories, like When It’s Time for Bed, are ways of engaging with her parents and her tiny world now, but in a year’s time I can imagine us giggling and talking about the expressive faces of the characters. These little stories are small building blocks; they are blocks that are a part of turning our little girl into one who celebrates World Book Day with gusto because, each and every day, she really does love books.
When It’s Time for Bed is out on the 5th July. You can get the first two board books in the series When There’s Work To Do and When We Go Shopping from the 26th April.
Disclosure: When It’s Time for Bed was provided by Harper Collins for the purpose of review. However, all opinions are my own. We love books and hope you do, too!
Competition– And thanks to Harper Collins, I have a bundle of books to give away (RRP £20/$30) which includes a book and CD of Up and Down by award-winning author Oliver Jeffers. There is a chance of two entries per reader. Here is what you have to do to enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me that you have subscribed to Life of an Expat Parent via e-mail (to see where to subscribe scroll to the bottom of the page) or that you read it using a blog reader (ie Google Reader).
You can earn another entry by:
2. Tweeting: I want to help make lifelong readers for #WorldBookDay with @expatparent and @HarperCollinsCh – and leaving a comment on this post that you have done so.
3. Sharing the link to this post on your own facebook page – and leaving a comment on this post that you have done so.
Leaving a comment PER entry on this post is important as it will ensure you are registered. The competition will end the 7th March at midnight (GMT). I’ll then use True Random Number Generator at random.org to select a winner. And don’t worry where you are, I will post the books to the competition winner regardless of your location in the world. (That’s commitment, people!)
Good luck and get reading!
This competition is now closed.