WORLD BOOK DAY – 3rd March 2022
Created by UNESCO on 23 April 1995, World Book Day is a celebration of books, authors and illustrators. Its ultimate aim is to encourage children and young people to discover the pleasure of reading. Over 100 countries around the world mark World Book Day each year.
Why Reading For Pleasure Is Important
Numerous studies have shown that the benefits of reading for pleasure are profound. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, “Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator for success in life, more than family circumstances, educational background, or income.”
There is apparently a big difference between simply being able to read and reading for pleasure in terms of the effect on academic success, mental health and future economic success. Cressida Cowell, author of the hugely popular children’s book How to Train your Dragon says: “Books enable children to discover new worlds, meet new people and learn about the past, but they also have the power to transform lives. By sparking imagination, stimulating critical thinking and helping to develop empathy, reading gives children the very skills they need to succeed at school, at work and in life”.
There are also correlations between success and how many books children grow up amongst. An Australian study, analysing data from more than 160,000 adults from 31 different countries, revealed that growing up in a houseful of books helps children develop literacy and numeracy skills. The impact is such that teenage school leavers who grew up with a home library of at least 80 books had literacy, numeracy and, to a lesser extent, IT skills equivalent to a university graduate who grew up without a home library.
It’s clear, then, that having access to books and, importantly, learning to read for pleasure, is vital in nurturing success – and good mental health. But what about children who don’t have access to a library at home? In the UK, nearly 400,000 children don’t have a book of their own. This is where World Book Day plays a vital role.
Research has found that 96.9% of children in the UK have heard of World Book Day and children who participate in World Book Day activities are more engaged in reading and books than those who don’t.
25 years of World Book Day UK and Ireland
This year is the 25th anniversary of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland. Held on the first Thursday in March, slightly earlier in the year than other countries, World Book Day 2022 falls on 3rd March. It’s an important day in the calendar of schools, libraries, authors, illustrators, publishers and bookshops.
Most of all, it’s a day designed to spark interest in reading amongst children and young people. Among the activities organised are dressing up as a favourite book character, free digital live events featuring authors and illustrators, competitions, as well as setting aside time to just sit and read during the day.
This year’s theme, ‘You are a reader’, is a message to all children that there is a book for everyone.
£1 Book Tokens
World Book Day also makes book ownership possible. The event is sponsored by National Book Tokens who distribute 15 million £1 book tokens to all children and young people in full-time education. The tokens can be exchanged for £1 books that have been created especially for World Book Day, with options for children of all ages, interests, and stages of reading. They can also be used to get £1 off any full price book. The tokens can be used at booksellers, including supermarkets.
How To Encourage Children To Read
Setting aside even just 10 minutes a day can make a difference to how a child perceives reading. World Book Day lists six elements that research has shown is important in supporting a child to reach for pleasure:
- Being read to regularly
- Having books at home and school
- Finding time to read
- Having trusted help to find a book
- Giving children a choice in what to read
- Making reading fun
How To Get Involved
The World Book Day website is full of useful information and fun resources for in school and at home. There are sections dedicated to:
If you aren’t involved in education and perhaps don’t have children of your own, there are still plenty of ways to support World Book Day, including making a donation, fundraising or buying merchandise.
For more information, visit www.worldbookday.com