Following my last post I thought I’d mention an item at the end of BBC’s Breakfast programme this morning talking about how few books many children had at home – if any. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/12550706
According to the National Literacy Trust nearly one in three children in England doesn’t own a book! How sad is that? I know books are expensive but charity shops are always selling off their books so cheaply – for a little more than twenty pence sometimes – so budget isn’t an excuse really. But I suppose when the kids are whinging for sweets, games and attractive plastic buying a book is the last thing on some parents’ minds. But an interest in books is a vital part of a child’s development.
The daft thing is children usually love books – if they get the chance to be among them and experience them. Take a kid into the children’s section of a library or bookshop and they’re almost as enthralled as being in a sweet shop!
Books need to be an essential a part of their home life as television is because the desire and foundation of reading comes from exposure to them at home. So the more books that are around, the more that books are enjoyed and part of a child’s daily life, the better. With buying second hand ones you can afford not to precious about them and really let toddlers get their hands on them. The trouble is some new parents think that books are old fashioned and the new technology is the replacement and are neglecting the use of books as a result.
Apparently the National Literacy Trust is having to make up for this shortfall. http://www.literacytrust.org.uk
The report this morning showed how volunteers are going into schools to provide literacy support. Maybe if more parents were aware of the vital importance of bring the experience of books into their children’s life at home there would be far less children suffering from this literary poverty that requires support.
It’s been said that J K Rowling’s Harry Potter re-established children’s desire to read. It looks like The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is doing the same for the younger ones.
But it doesn’t have to be up-to-date or trendy or high profile books to have an impact. Enjoying any book together is an important part of a parent’s duty. And an important part of a child’s potential for achievement. That’s why it’s so important to have books at home.
There should be no family households without them.