Introducing Inspiring Talks - new Bookbug videos
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced a new policy urging all paediatricians to give parents advice on reading to their children from birth. This new policy tells doctors that each time they see a child, they have a responsibility to encourage reading as part of a family’s daily routine. You can read the NY Times coverage here.
We know that reading, as well as talking, are important for building the number of words that children hear, but as the article points out, parents can find endless amounts of baby talk tiresome. Reading aloud can change this – children benefit from the words they hear and parents don’t feel pressured to make small talk.
In Scotland, we’re lucky. There is already a major commitment from the government and a range of early years partners to ensure that every child grows up with books and reading as part of their life. Families are given free Bookbug packs, along with a message about the importance of building reading into their day. The Bookbug programme is supported by a range of partners and key professionals including health, education, libraries, and local authorities.
In this new video series, a range of influential partners share their support, enthusiasm, and motivation to support Bookbug and the idea that every child should be read to from birth.
Karyn McCluskey (right) is the Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. She is passionate about reducing violence and making Scotland a better society. She recognises that the early years play an important part in this – especially the mellow time that reading aloud promotes. She shares the angle that reading aloud isn’t just critical for school success – but also later success in life.
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk (top) shares her thoughts on how books support children in learning about the world. Sharing books is a form of interaction which helps build our internal teddy bear. This internal teddy bear stays with us our entire life and helps us learn to comfort ourselves. Stories are about sharing experience and building relationships – not literacy, but emotional connection to story, and empathy towards others. It’s not about getting it right – it’s about having fun.
Tam Baillie (right), Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, recognises that the relationship between parent and child is at the core of your child's development. Stories, songs and rhymes play a central role in interaction but also in setting up the foundations for literacy. As Tam says, you can’t spend too much time talking, reading and singing with children!
Vivian French (right), children’s author, discusses the benefits of rhyme – children love rhyme and rhymes are much easier to remember. Stories, songs and rhymes give us a chance to hear and learn more words. The more words we hear, the stronger our vocabulary. With this collection of words in our head, we have the power to express ourselves – and if we haven’t got the words, we become frustrated and often resort to other less productive forms of self-expression.
Stories, songs and rhymes are all an important part of children’s experiences. The benefits are enormous – self-expression and identity, vocabulary, relationships and the ability to interpret the world and cope with stress, later success in life, literacy – but my favourite benefit is the fun, the laughter and enjoyment that a good story can bring to a family.
The more we can promote the message to parents through a variety of partners and agencies, then the stronger the message becomes – and the whole country will take note. Reading aloud to babies and children every day goes far beyond the benefits of literacy. Most importantly, it’s helping to build safe, happy and healthy children.