World Book Day is a global celebration of reading and the universal love of stories.
First celebrated in the UK in 1995, the event sees every school-age child receive a book voucher. Now in its 25th year, the event is being commemorated with a new selection of £1/£1.50 children’s books. Each book can be ‘purchased’ free with a voucher.
Nurseries are also invited to participate in World Book Day. You can find out more information on the official World Book Day site.
But what about smaller nurseries and childminders? A child’s enjoyment or disinterest in reading can be formed much earlier than their school days. As early years’ practitioners, we understand the importance of fostering a love of reading.
Stories are how we communicate ideas and different experiences. In the case of young children, that can mean exposure to different ways of life, morals and complex concepts broken down in a way that they can understand and digest.
Books also help with literacy skills. The children move from hearing the stories being read to them to reading together and, finally, independent reading.
Literacy skills are not only learned by reading and writing, but also by drawing or ‘mark making’, speaking, and listening. Children learn literacy skills at different rates. There are steps you can take to assist in their development. Our CACHE-endorsed Literacy and the EYFS short course is designed to help you understand how to assist and motivate children to support their reading development.
This year, World Book Day will be held on Thursday, March 3rd, and is an excellent opportunity to engage the children in your care.
Here are a few pointers for a successful World Book Day in your nursery or childminding business.
Having a designated reading time helps young children develop the habit and hopefully fall in love with reading. If an activity is allotted a specific time, children subconsciously deduce that it is important. Many adults see reading time as a luxury or even a waste of time because they weren’t taught to appreciate how important reading is for our continued emotional and cognitive development.
World Book Day is aiming to help all children to be given the time and support they need to become happy and confident readers.
We’ve previously suggested reading is a favourite among rainy day activities. While this is true, you should emphasise that reading can be an acceptable alternative to another activity that a child may not be fond of.
You could also bring in your favourite book as a child to read to the children and compare and contrast with their chosen titles.
Access to Books
Working alongside the children’s primary caregivers is essential in all aspects of their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. In the case of reading and World Book Day, that means impressing on the parents and guardians the importance of the children having access to age-appropriate books at home.
In the nursery or childcare centre, you should also try to create a diverse and inclusive library. This means the stories should encompass different kinds of families, cultures, settings and experiences.
It also means that children with learning difficulties, deaf or hearing impaired and blind children should also have access to books designed to meet their specific needs.
The World Book Day stories selection also includes books written in Braille, large type, and audiobooks.
Libraries & Resources
World Book Day is great, but it’s only one day, and reading resources cost money. When working with young children, it’s easy for books to get torn or stained.
If you are in charge of resources, you can often pick up children’s books in good condition second hand from charity shops and buy//sell/swap sites online.
Depending on the distance and logistics, you can also look into your local library and find out whether they are having a World Book Day event.
If it is feasible, and parents give their permission, you could take the children along and sign them up for library cards.
There are also several free libraries, free book apps, and websites that you can join or download.
Young children like consistency and repetition and this is often evident in their propensity to request or read the same short stories over and over again.
Although we as adults may long for a change, a child’s attachment to a particular book can be a useful tool in emerging literacy skills.
If there is a book that’s a favourite among the group, you can use the characters and story to plan World Book Day activities.
This could be simple pairs or numbers games with the characters on the cards, jigsaws, art projects, cooking and baking.
Whether you want to have a ‘dressing up’ day for World Book Day is up to you, and the children’s primary caregivers. Dressing up as characters from children’s literature has become a significant aspect of World Book Day in recent years. This kind of role-play is perfectly in keeping with the EYFS objective of creative and individual expression. You can also participate by dressing up, if you wish to do so.
However, it shouldn’t overshadow the point of the event. World Book Day should always be primarily about books and reading.
If you are having costumes, try to give parents and guardians enough time to prepare. If you want to have a theme but don’t want to put pressure on the parents, some schools and nurseries have designated World Book Day, ‘come in your favourite pyjamas day.
World Book Day should just be one day that emphasises and complements the reading and literacy objectives you are helping the children achieve before they move into reception classes and begin five+ education.