Having just read an article on the BBC news website over fears about the development of Britain’s children, I wondrered what other parents thought about this? The report states that there is a growing concern over the rate at which children are developing social skills, concentration skills and the ability to share, motivate themselves and co-operate with others.
Studies have found that “simple things like reading to children every day, regular bedtimes – even cuddling your children – will have a positive impact on their development.” and that there are direct links between socioeconomic status and a child’s readiness for school at the age of five.
It seems that families who are not high earners are failing to read to their children and that this is having a lasting impact on the prospective education of their children. I know as a teacher working at a school in one of the country’s most deprived areas, there are many children who are not given the same advantages as my children. I know that too many children come to school with empty tummies and with no prior knowledge and understanding of the world around them. I know that there is little I can do for these children outside of the classroom.
In my NQT year, a parent once asked me how she could help her year one child to improve in her reading. This was following World Book Day where the children had been asked to bring in their favourite book to share with the class. Most of the children brought nothing; one child brought an old copy of Exchange and Mart. I told this child’s parent that a really good place to start was the local library, where the child could choose a book that interested them and that they would enjoy reading a little more than their school reading book.

I think you know where this is going. If the libraries are going to close, then how will we ever improve the chances of these children? Someone tweeted recently that we had to get real about this situation and that in the scheme of things closing a few libraries was nothing compared to the thousands of people around the world who were suffering through war, famine etc. True. But isn’t it our duty to take resonsibility for the children on our own doorsteps too? With no library to access books, some children won’t get a bedtime story and, as the report has suggested, won’t develop at a ‘normal’ rate as a result. Of course, many other factors need to be considered here also, but the importance of reading and being read to is, in my opinion, so great. Children learn to communicate, share, educate themselves and to develop vital language skills through reading. With no libraries, so many children are going to miss out on this and one day they will be adults. I wonder who will help them then?
For more information on the importance of books, visit:
Bookstart
Reading For Life
Find a Library
Guardian- The Best Children’s Books Ever