Dear Little Ones,
Thursday this week is world book day. By now the grown-ups who have realised this are in eye rolling mode. “Tut” they will say. “Why do I have to do this? Of course her favourite book is Aliens Love Underpants. Tesco doesn’t sell that outfit.”
Later this week (Wednesday evening/Thursday morning) your grown-up will hit full blown panic mode. They will frantically start trying to match your fancy dress outfits to your books. You will be sent to school/nursery in the least stained outfit you already own with a book that vaguely relates to your costume.
Then you’ll get to school and there is one child who appears in a hand made outfit with applique touches AND the outfit resembles the character that they’re supposed to be. Immediately, with no words being exchanged, the grown-up attached to that child will be hated slightly by all the other grown-ups who only styled their offspring that morning.
But here’s the thing. World book day isn’t about fancy dress. World book day is about books! The reason that it’s suggested that you come along in fancy dress is so that you and your grown-up have a conversation about your books. Which books do you like? Why do you like that one? Shall we read it again just to be sure you like it. Let’s snuggle up under the duvet with this big long novel, a big bag of maltesers, and skip school on Wednesday. You’ll be lucky if you get that last option but some grown-ups would love to do that!
The good people at www.worldbookday.com do what they do because they want you to grow up to be a reader and the best way to do that is not to beat you around the head with phonics cards, but to show you that books are fun. Books take you on adventures to far off places, meeting characters that don’t exist in real life (except in some parts of South London), riding dragons, rescuing princesses, rescuing princes and living happily ever after. What they also do is take your language skills to a whole new height without you realising which is partly why kids who read for pleasure get better exam results – whole grades better – I’ve not made that up, it’s scientifically proven, google it if you don’t believe me.
So on Monday, if your grown-up hasn’t even started rolling their eyes, remind them that World Book Day is coming and this year you don’t want to wear the same old spiderman/princess dress. You want something original. Then take your grown-up over to your book shelf and talk about your favourite books. Why are they your favourites? Is it because spiderman is in it? You LOVE spiderman. Wear the spiderman outfit – and take the book with you!
And for those of you who will be going to school in something utterly crap, don’t worry about it. If your grown-up had a good old chinwag about the book that features your character then your future is brighter than the kids who’s parent didn’t realise that world book day is about kids loving books.
Lot’s of Love
PS If anybody knows how to get Pippi Longstocking plaits to stick out then could they please leave a comment, preferably before Wednesday night!
A NOTE FOR GROWN-UPS
Some of you will get a free book token on world book day which can be exchanged for one of a number of books or used against a book costing more than £2.99. When you’re out shopping on Saturday go find the bookshop and use it. Your kids will love that book and it needn’t cost you anything.
There are loads of hints and tips on the world book day website for those of you who want to explore this subject further. www.worldbookday.com
And for the really hardcore amongst you, here is a link to an evidence review that demonstrates amongst other things that children who read for pleasure get better exam results. This isn’t the same as kids who read early – there’s no evidence that they get better exam results. Make it fun, take your time and they’ll get the exam results they need to get into cambridge to become a well paid lawyer and pay for you to live in a very swish retirement home. What’s not to love!!!
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.