Thursday, 5 March 2015

World Book Day 2016: A Proposal

World Book Day: a day parents (and perhaps especially mums, on whom the job of childcare still falls disproportionately) dread and support in equal measure.

Support, because we love books and want our children to love books. Dread, because so often World Book Day seems to actually be World Costume Day. Its bad enough getting three children into school uniform, breakfasted, teeth cleaned and out of the house in time for school: having to also get them special costumes is often a step too far.

And that's just from my rather privileged middle-class book-loving household perspective: I can only imagine what its like trying to live up to the pressure if you are barely literate yourself, or have no spare money or a dressing up box lying around to source a costume from.

Surely, World Book Day should be primarily about sharing the joy of reading, not the joy of dressing up?

So my proposal for World Book Day 2016 is simple. Let all schools simply open up the doors of their library (or organise a trip to a local library - while we still can). Children can bring in their own book, of course, but not all are fortunate enough to have them, or access to a good range of them.

Let them each choose a book (or books). No telling them what age range they should be picking from, no telling them a comic book or graphic novel doesn't 'count' - let them enjoy free range reading. Let them pick several, start several, abandon them if they don't enjoy one and try another instead.

And then just let them read ALL DAY. Sitting at their desks, lounging in the library, sprawled on the floor. Encourage them to read a whole book, in one go. A short one if necessary. With support if needed. Or part of a longer one - if a child wants to start The Lord of the Rings for goodness sake don't tell them they need to choose a book they can finish in a day!

A whole day, in school, just lounging around reading. Who's in?

(Image from shows children in a school in Laos on the first day of a Sustained Silent Reading programme)

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic idea. With maybe some optional things kids who can't read too well can do if it all gets too much!