2 September 2022

'The more that you read, the more things you will know!'

KewEarly LearningJunior School
'The more that you read, the more things you will know!'
'The more that you read, the more things you will know!'
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‘The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.’ (Dr Seuss)

One of the many joys of my profession is the delight in browsing, buying and reading children’s books. Staying up to date with new authors and illustrators, researching children’s books that deal with complex topics in appropriate ways both through fiction and non-fiction.

My personal professional library is made up of books from my childhood, my son’s childhood and reference collection – those children’s books I just can’t live without. Some are classics and some new and will potentially become classics. The width and breath of children’s books these days provides extraordinary opportunities for children to be immersed in books, language, culture, history and fun.


The importance of reading to children regularly and from a very young age is now shown to be critical in terms of children’s language and communication development. Many children will have been read to in utero and others from birth, as the soothing voice of a parent or primary caregiver has been shown to calm a child as much as singing and music do. Just as with talking and language development we don’t expect children to understand everything we read from infancy, but they develop the love and interest through being read to. And learning to read themselves is a skill that needs opportunity and time and repetition, as children move through material books and plastic bath books to board books, lift-the-flap and short repetitive stories, eventually to more complex and longer books.

There are of course many other benefits, including the development of relationship, cuddling up, sitting close knowing that at that point nothing else matters; shared enjoyment and discovery together. Children learn about their culture and other cultures through reading, they are exposed to new words and meaning as well as wonderful illustrations and types of print. They learn that in English we read from left to right, they learn to hold the book and turn the pages. They learn to ‘read’ favourite books that are repeated over and over until you think you are reciting it in your sleep. They learn that the text is the same whoever reads it (unless you are trying to trick them by changing the words). They learn about the rules of language, and they learn that reading is fun and books are amazing.

Reading to children is not something that should stop just because they can read to themselves. Many adults read to each other, sharing a piece of information from a paper or article. Book clubs have had a resurgence where adults read a given book and then discuss and reflect on the book. Professionals often share professional articles and debate and share the thoughts, ideas and provocations.

As we head into Book Week and find which children’s picture story book wins, you might like to share some of your favourite childhood books with your children. There are some great resources about the value of reading to children, such as Reading Magic by Mem Fox and Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler.

Happy Reading.

Wendy Seidler
Director of ELC Kew


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