The Joy of Reading

The term ‘Reading’ falls under the literacy aspect along with Writing, in the ‘Birth to 5 Matters’- the guidance we follow to support the children in their development. As educators and parents we can spark that joy of reading from inside the womb. From noticing and engaging with sounds and images in the environment, handling books, re-telling favourite stories, songs and jingles, to enjoying an increasing range of print (fiction and nonfiction), and being able to recall and discuss stories or information that has been read to them or they have read themselves.

Literacy in the early years is very important as it is fundamental in early education and is a skill that is vital for everyone. It can include talking about books, print in the environment, early mark making, as well as sharing books and reading. The opportunity to read crops up multiple times a day, whether it be reading books, road signs, shop/supermarket signs/logos, or even familiar words such as name tags.

Why is it so Important for our little ones?

Vital connections in the brain are made very early in life and when stimulated this forms the basis of all future learning and intellectual ability. In simpler terms, reading to your child at a young age stimulates these brain cells and each time it strengthens them and they form connections with even more brain cells. Stimulating your young child’s brain cells through these early experiences will help them to become better listeners, readers, and communicators as well as instilling a lifelong love of learning.

When you think about why reading is important, you may think of the obvious benefits such as expanding your vocabulary and knowledge but what many people don’t realise is that for young children, it develops so many other skills too. Early reading ignites creativity, sparks curiosity and stimulates the imagination in young children. Often this leads to role play as children grow which helps to develop other skills such as empathy and problem solving. While these are significant benefits to young children, the biggest psychological benefit is how reading helps to grow self-confidence and independence from such an early age. The simple act of taking time out of your day to read to your baby or sit down with your child helps to promote greater maturity and discipline, which are all essential attributes when it comes to your child learning to read in a school setting as sometimes the psychological pressure can be too much. If you read with your children early on and help them to learn at their own pace in a fun setting, you can foster a love of reading and help them to become competent and confident at it before having to do it in front of others

How do we support the joy of reading?

Here at Inspirations, we make available many challenges and resources to support the joy of reading. Whether it be the lending library we have made in our front entrance, easy to reach book display shelves for independent access at all times, changing the books depending on the children’s interests, projects, or diversity and providing information books on such things as animals/mini beasts, space, and school.

We support each activity area/area of provision with books as an extra provocation or to act as inspiration. We create cosy areas for the children to access freely when they wish to have some down time and look at books with their friends or independently as well as creating carpet time sessions for the children to have a controlled story time with an adult. We celebrate World book day and visit the local library, and have, on a couple of occasions invited the librarians in to do a session with the children. Creating a literacy area in our preschool provision for the children to freely access, as well as having names for the children’s pegs and self registration, helps the children with letter and name recognition, which then leads them on to phonetically sounding out the initial sounds/words. Sharing familiar stories or stories with Rhymes so that the children can join in with rhymes and repeated refrains is something the children love to do.

Now you know why reading is important and all the benefits that it offers, start to make the time to read a little with your children every day. Soon you’ll find that cuddling up in bed reading stories is your favourite part of the day and it’s doing your children a world of good too, because after all…

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we believe we left without having lived them, those we spent with a favourite book.”

― Marcel Proust, Days of Reading