World Book Day at Doha College

Christine Walker, Senior Vice Principal, Head of Primary

On Sunday, at Doha College, it's World Book Day. It's a celebration! It's a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it's a celebration of reading.

We hope that this day will shine a spotlight on how great children's books are. For some children, one day, one book even, is enough to instil a lifelong love of words, reading and stories. When I visit classes, it's clear to see that children love stories, they love adventures, and most of all they love to talk about them and ask questions.

Books are a fantastic form of entertainment and you're allowed and encouraged to enjoy that entertainment at school. Imagine that! Books actively require us, the reader, to use our imagination. We can become part of the story.

From the safety of our own rooms, we can meet fantastical beasts, travel across the stars, sail the seas, explore foreign lands, laugh out loud or be scared to death. Books offer us a chance to add our own details to a story, to form relationships with characters and be part of the adventure.

Children who read for enjoyment every day develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. And it's fun!

Studies indicate that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background. And it's enjoyable!

Even before they're born, babies learn to recognise their parents' voices. Reading to a baby from birth, even for just a few minutes a day, gives them the comfort of hearing a familiar voice and increases their exposure to language. It's never too early to start!

Reading is about listening and understanding as well as working out what's printed on the page. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen. It's important for them to understand how stories work too. Even if children don't understand every word, they'll hear new sounds, words and phrases which they can then try out, copying what they have heard.

So whilst we all have fun on Sunday, and I have no doubt we will see an array of Harry Potters, Willy Wonkas, Where's Wallys and Cat in the Hats with a smattering of princesses here and there, it's important to remember why. Reading is important because words spoken and written are the building blocks of life.

by Christine Walker, Senior Vice Principal, Head of Primary

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Saturday, 21 October 2017