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Celebrating World Book Day: The Importance of Reading

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.

George R.R. Martin, author of the fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, which was later turned into the T.V. series Game of Thrones

While the form of books may change, from e-books to audio books, their value never will. Books offer us knowledge, stories from far flung lands, and a way to expand our minds. To encourage the importance of books to upcoming generations, UNESCO founded World Book Day in 1995. 

child reading a picture book

Celebrating World Book Day

On March 3 of every year, people around the globe celebrate World Book Day. UNESCO founded the concept in 1995 “to celebrate books and authors and encourage young people to discover the pleasure of reading.”

Reading has so many benefits, beyond being a wonderful pastime. For children in particular, developing reading as a skill and hobby builds a cornerstone on which they can grow for the rest of their lives.

Expanding Vocabulary

Reading from an early age offers children the opportunity to discover new words. This exposure allows them to grow their vocabulary in ways that other children might not experience if they are not reading. On average, a child who reads 20 minutes a day is exposed to approximately 2 million words a year. A child who reads 5 minutes a day will only be exposed to roughly 282,000 words a year. Imagine how limited your child’s vocabulary is if they don’t read at all!

As a bonus, children who read out loud with a parent will be combining both their visual and auditory skills to read the words on paper and say them out loud, or listen to them if a parent is reading. Being able to combine both senses helps to engrain new vocabulary in the mind.

Using a dictionary, the internet, or a smart device, children will be able to increase their vocabulary range at a fantastic rate when they are reading. Even if a parent is reading to them, this allows children to hear how different words and letters sound. 

child practicing vocabulary with teacher

Improving Writing Skills

Reading and writing go hand in hand. By reading more, children are exposed to different writing styles and syntax. Some authors integrate long, descriptive sentences, while others make use of shorter and simpler sentence structure. Both offer fantastic learning lessons.

Not to mention, reading the writing of others can inspire us to do our own writing! Reading an exciting story can spark creativity, and encourage children to pick up a pen or go to a computer and start creating a world of their own.

We encourage our children at Cape May Cares to read and write as often as possible. It is often incorporated into the many crafts we do. We have even set up local “Meet the Author” events so children can meet writers in person! 

child writing on paper

Encouraging Creativity

There are millions of books out in the world! Anything that you are interested in, there is a story about. Whether you like fiction or novels, fantasy or biographies, there are so many different choices. Delving into these stories will broaden a reader’s horizons and help them to learn about things they might not have known before.  

Learning about other stories means that kids’ minds can start to wander and create their own stories. The gift of reading is something that can mentally develop the mind in a way that others will never be able to take away from your kids. It is a gift that can resonate in all other aspects of their lives!

child reading a book

Doing Better in School

Reading offers the opportunity for kids to make leaps and bounds forwards in the education system. According to the Young Readers Foundation, kids who read grow up to have better cognitive skills. Many school subjects require various intensities of reading, writing, and critical thinking. Reading helps to develop all of these skills, as well as increase test scores. Statistics show that children who read 20 minutes a day are likely to score 90% better than their peers on standardized tests.

Building Confidence and Broadening Horizons

When children can do something on their own, they feel accomplished. Being able to read is a big milestone and will make children feel proud of themselves. While learning about the stories in their books’ universe, children will also learn more about the world around them. They will have heroes they admire and strive to be like, learn about places around the world they want to go and visit, and potentially want to read even more books!

four children working together to read at a table

How can you and your child get more involved in reading?

  • Go to your local library
  • Ask your school librarian for book recommendations
  • Get in touch with a teacher
  • Visit a Little Free Library in your community
  • Start reading out loud with your child

As well as being celebrated annually, World Book Day is also a charity that aspires to encourage and enable children to read more. Above all else, the goal is to nurture a love of reading in future generations. We hope that even outside of World Book Day, everyone can find a book that suits their interests and exposes them to the beauty of exploring a world between pages.

world book day, kids in costume

2 Comments

  • Keith Lafferty

    Thanks to all the many wondeful voluntters and tutors at Cape May Cares. These children are no different than any others and empowering them with time, love and the tools of improved reading skills are instumental to their future.

    “Do you think that we’re products of our environments? I think so, or maybe products of our expectations. Others’ expectations of us or our expectations. I mean others’ expectations that you take on as your own. I realize how difficult it is to seperate the two. The expectations that others place on us help us form our expectations of ourselves.”
    ― Wes Moore – Bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore

    “When we’re young, it sometimes seems as if our world doesn’t exist outside our city, our block, our house, our room. We make decisions based on what we see in that limited world and follow the only models available.”
    ― Wes Moore

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