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National Book Week: Why Reading is so Important

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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Did you know that over half of all South African households (58%) do not own a single leisure reading book.

I will be honest I can’t even fathom that. My mom was a teacher and then moved into her schools library. Books have always been a part of my life, even when I didn’t want them to be. Even now we have book cases filled with books purely for leisure. My parents and David’s aunt often give the kids books as Christmas and birthday gifts. I have a children’s Bible my grandmother bought for me, many many years ago.

A life without books is not something we have ever had to consider, yet for so many children it is a reality.

Another alarming stat is that only 14% of South Africans read books. There is an assumption that you only read when you need to learn something and this simple is not true. There is nothing like reading to transport you to a completely different place and time.

Reading to kids, just for the joy of reading has always been a part of our daily routine. Every night David reads to the kids and it is something they look forward to every night. They have read some books over and over a few times but each time it is like they are reading it for the first time.

Reading to your child and encouraging them to read has so many benefits for them and reading simply for the sake of reading should always be encouraged.

Benefits of Reading

  1. Improves concentration. Sitting, lying, or even colouring in while be read to requires concentration. The more you read and the more you discuss the story being read the more you are working on your child’s concentration.
  2. Improves memory. Reading improves memory. Each time you read a story your child is taking in facts, listening, and remembering what they are hearing.
  3. Learning about different parts of the world. The more diverse the books you read the more you expose your child to different cultures, religions, and parts of the world.
  4. Enhances critical thinking. While you are reading a story, you child learns how to think critically. When characters in the book are faced with a problem, they generally go through a process to resolve the issue and this helps your child to develop their own critical thinking.
  5. Builds empathy. Books deal with emotions. All types of emotions and this helps your child to learn empathy as well as different emotions. It also helps them to learn how to navigate and process different emotions.
  6. Grows language skills. The more you read the more language your child is exposed to which will naturally improve their language skills.
  7. It is entertaining. A good story will transport your child to new, magical worlds, some funny, some serious, some thrilling but all of them entertaining.
  8. Their vocabulary increases. What better way to increase your vocabulary than by reading lots and lots of words!

You don’t need to spend hours reading for your child for it to be beneficial. Reading a chapter a day or a couple of pages at a time, depending on their age is enough.

The most important thing is to read read read and then read some more!

National Book Week

Every year during the first week of September people, organisations, companies, schools, libraries and religious groups channel their efforts towards reading and book promotion. As the SABDC we visit locations in all 9 provinces to engage with audiences from all walks of life. Pre-schoolers, grade R to 12 learners, the youth, adults and elders from communities throughout the country participate in various programme activities. This annual campaign is aimed at uncovering the thrill and magic of sharing #OURSTORIES by increasing access to books and changing perceptions around reading.

This year the organisers of the National Book Week are not letting lockdown stand in their way of spreading the love of books and reading. The are taking National Book Week virtual!

The theme this year is Passport to Tomorrow which symbolizes travel, exploring and discovering new lands. Even if we physically can’t go far, we can use books to take us any where we want to go.

The kids and I will be joining the National Book Week as they travel the country reading and discovering new and exciting books.

You can join in the fun as well by attending this event on Facebook to stay up to date on all the virtual events.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post!

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