Dr. Emma Watson: How Reading Can Help Children Achieve Goals

Dr. Emma Watson explores how books and reading can help Scottish children break down barriers and achieve their aspirations.


Full transcript

My name's Emma Watson. I'm a doctor, I'm a Scottish Government senior medical officer working with the Workforce Division and Health & Care Directorate. I'm the Director of Medical Education in NHS Highland.

I think books are key to enabling Scotland to realise it’s ambitions that we will be a nation that supports and encourages our children to be everything they can be. With aspiration comes health and wealth and well-being, it opens doors for children.

In my region, I support children from all backgrounds to enter careers in Health & Care, but those children are those with aspiration. What I want to see is children from all sectors of society having that aspiration, that they too can be like me, a doctor; or like their health visitor, or like their carer, or their teacher and I see reading as key to opening and unlocking the barriers that are currently in existence.

Creating aspiration in children starts in the early years and the Growing Up Study in Scotland wants all pre-school children to have a bedtime story. Reading to your child at bedtime is really crucial for their social development, for their behavioural development, for their attention span, for connecting with your child. And it's fun. And in today's busy world, perhaps it's that only quiet time you have one-to-one with your child.

A worrying statistic is that forty percent of children in the poorest parts of our society don't get a bedtime story. More concerning for me is that twenty percent of children in the richest sectors of society don't get a bedtime story. Are we sending our children to bed with screens, now? In this situation of an epidemic of screens, I think as an infection doctor, microbiologist, I've got the perfect antidote and I think that antidote's a book.

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Filed In: Bookbug Tags: Ideas from Early Years Experts, Bookbug Conference