“I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.” JK Rowling
Any avid reader knows that there are few things better in life than curling up in a cosy corner with a good book. In fact only one comes to mind… being a child in that same cosy corner on the lap of a parent who brings alive the words on a page. The journeys and adventures hidden between the covers of a book magically transport a child to different worlds. This shared experience strengthens relationships and sets children on the path to loving books.
Dr Seuss could not have been more right when he said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
The researcher Johnson O’Connor, known for his studies about the impact of vocabulary on people’s lives, termed words “the tools of thought”. Through vast amounts of testing and twenty years of research, he always came back to the same conclusion: a person’s vocabulary level is the best single predictor of occupational success.
As a child, the best way to develop one's vocabulary is to read with an adult. It is not enough to decode a text; successful reading is all about making sense of words that build and interweave to create the story in front of us.
This poses a question… What should a child read? The answer is... Whatever interests them. Whatever makes them want to read. If they like sports, read the sports pages in the newspaper, read books about their favourite athletes and teams, read about sports stars from the past, research team sports played in different countries. If they like animals, read the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, the magazine National Geographic Kids, read about animals at the bottom of the sea and animals from the past, learn about sharks that are older than dinosaurs. Just read, but remember, solely looking at the pictures does not count!
With that in mind, I am setting myself a challenge to read my height in books by the end of the academic year. I will put each book I have read in the main hall, one on top of the other, creating a tower. I am more than happy to receive recommendations.