Of the hundreds of appeals that schools make for additional support, have you noticed how many of them are asking for help with buying books?
This isn’t just a whim. It’s because books are an absolutely essential ingredient in school life.
So often, schools fundraise for books because they don’t have enough to go around, or they have become too well-thumbed and tatty. If a school is hit by a disaster, like a flood or fire, books are among the first things that teachers seek to replace.
Such appeals strike a chord. Who wants their children, or the children living in their community, to go to a school where books are a scarce resource?
This got us thinking about why books are such an essential part of school life.Children’s books play a crucial role in schools for so many reasons. They are far more than just literary entertainment; they are educational tools that contribute significantly to a child’s overall development. Here’s why children’s books are important in schools:
Language development: Children’s books expose youngsters to a wide range of vocabulary, sentence structures, and language patterns. Reading books helps children develop stronger communication skills, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Cognitive development: Reading children’s books encourages critical thinking and analytical skills. Stories feature plots, characters, and settings that require students to process information, make predictions, and understand cause-and-effect relationships. Just think how convoluted the ongoing plots and themes are in book series such as His Dark Materials or Harry Potter. They require a lot of processing.
Imagination and creativity: Children’s books invariably include imaginative and creative plots or characters that foster a child’s creativity. Exposure to different worlds, characters, and scenarios stimulates the imagination and encourages children to think creatively.
Cultural awareness and diversity: Many children’s books introduce young readers to different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. This promotes empathy, understanding, and respect for diversity from a young age. It expands a child’s view of the world beyond their own immediate family, friends and school life.
Emotional development: Stories will deal with emotions, moral dilemmas, and social situations. Reading about characters’ experiences can help children understand and process their own emotions and develop empathy for others. Children can identify with the issues faced by the characters, which helps them work through their own issues and feelings.
Early literacy skills: Children’s books are designed with appropriate language and illustrations (like the ones we create here at Happydesigner) to help young readers grasp the fundamentals of reading. They introduce concepts like letters, sounds, and phonics, which are essential for later reading success.
Fostering a love of reading: Engaging children with interesting and captivating stories can cultivate a lifelong enjoyment of reading. If children learn to love reading from an early age, they are more likely to continue reading independently as they grow older.
Parental involvement: Children’s books can be a bridge for involving parents or caregivers in their children’s education. Encouraging parents to read to their children at home creates a positive learning environment and strengthens the bond between parents and children. If you remember how much you loved being read to as a child, you’ll know what we mean!
Academic success: Proficiency in reading is the basis of success in all academic subjects. Reading opens the door to the rest of the world. Children’s books contribute to vocabulary development, comprehension skills, and overall cognitive abilities that are transferable to other areas of learning.
Lifelong learning: Introducing children to the joys of reading through children’s books encourages them to continue seeking knowledge and exploring new ideas throughout their lives. Learning shouldn’t just stop when we leave education, and having a love of reading helps us continue to develop.
Escape and relaxation: Reading children’s books can provide youngsters with a much-needed escape from daily stresses. It’s a way for them to relax, unwind, and take a break from their routine. Seeing children with their noses in a book is one of life’s real pleasures!
Imagine a world with no children’s books. It would be a very narrow, bland, and soulless place. But give children access to books in school and in the home, and you help create well-rounded, informed, and empathetic individuals.
We’re book enthusiasts, as you know, and our contribution is designing and creating wonderfully illustrated children’s books. Take a browse around our website to find out more about our work, or you can get in touch with the Happydesigner team here.
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)