It is undoubtedly increasingly difficult to get children interested in reading with an increasing number of distractions available to children nowadays.
Studies show that many children still view reading as something of a chore, especially in comparison to playing computer games or watching television.
Despite this, surveys suggest that most children do enjoy visiting the library and find it an enjoyable and worthwhile experience. According to Government guidelines libraries and schools are committed to encouraging children to read as much as possible, and in a library there is a wealth of topics to learn about ranging from medical treatment like laser hair removal to how to where Wall is on his latest adventure.
Ofsted reports show that the quality of school libraries is decreasing year on year. This research suggests that the range of books available to children in primary schools is often limited and the resources available to secondary school pupils are often out of date and shabby.
In 2004 the Government launched an initiative to provide a standardised level of access to high quality resources for children under 5 years old, as well as their carers and parents. Visits to the public library are consequently an increasingly important activity for school children.
By establishing links with local schools, nurseries, play schemes and pre-schools as well as parent groups, libraries are able to arrange a timetable of activities to cater for everyone, as well as educating the groups involved with reference to how to borrow books or use the computers for example.
During school holidays libraries also run extra activities such as holiday reading programmes and story time slots. Many libraries also offer events such as meeting authors or having literary themed parties.
Older children are being increasingly encouraged to use web based resources such as ‘stories from the web’ in order to improve their computer skills and ensure they are aware of all the resources available to them online.
Children are often keen to use computers so this can encourage them to learn more whilst also having fun. Online resources are often colourful and bright and are therefore more attractive to children.
Bookstart’s free books for babies programme helps to ensure children are encouraged to read from an early age and library classes also teach parents and carers the value of reading with their children in terms of emotional bonds as well as accelerated learning.
Research shows that children who are read bedtime stories by parents or carers at a young age are more likely to want to read more when they are older.
World Book Day
World book day is a celebration of reading and is often marked by special events at schools, universities and libraries. Registered schools can receive vouchers to buy new books.