Karyn McCluskey: How Books and Reading Can Make Scotland Better

Karyn McCluskey is the Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. Her passion is for 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.

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Full Transcript

My name is Karyn McCluskey and I'm the director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.

My passion in life is about reducing violence.  I think for the last ten - twelve years I've been really interested in how we can make Scotland a better society; and part of that has been about Early Years and about how we can give kids the best start in life.

The one thing that I see when I'm looking at some of the young people that have been involved in violence, when I look at their life histories, they don't have the same skills that lots of other people have. They don't have the communication and the empathy, and the problem solving skills that help us all get through life without bumping into alcohol or drugs or violence.  It's really interesting when you look at those skills, because they're developed Early Years, usually from your Mum and Dad or from a significant other, somebody who takes a real interest in you, and if you don't get them Early Years, it's really difficult to get them later on.

And when you listen to somebody like Suzanne Zeedyk, a child psychologist who speaks all over Scotland very passionately about this subject, she says; "Babies are born connected from the moment they're born".  They can react to you, they can mimic you, they can copy you.  So it's incredibly important for us to be able to interact with babies so that they grow these skills and reading to your kids is something that's so rewarding, it's time out, it's mellow, time, and I think what Bookbug does, is it's giving people a strategy, and telling them it's okay to be able to sing, to do rhymes, to be able to read to your kids, and it's important.  It's absolutely critical to them succeeding in later life, because we know that kids who have those skills perform much better at school and actually do much better in going through life.

Watch Karen McCluskey's Inspiring Talk with full subtitles on YouTube.

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