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Celebrate International Literacy Day With Your Children

04/09/2015 10:51 BST | Updated 03/09/2016 10:59 BST

8 September is International Literacy Day, an excuse to celebrate, support and encourage literacy across the globe, another great reason to raid the book shelves!

Books are a magical retreat for the mind, a place to escape, to hide, to grow and to explore. Making yourself - and your children - take time out to stop and read a really good book is the perfect antidote for a racing mind after work, or school.

Around 775million people across the globe are functionally illiterate, lacking the basic reading and writing skills to manage daily life.

As a teacher turned toy hunter, literacy is close to my heart and it's a skill we quickly take for granted once accomplished, so this special day offers us a chance to recognise how lucky we are to be able to read and write.

Here are some ideas for you and your family to try together this International Literacy Day - some of these should engage even the most reluctant reader, there are a couple of ideas for adults too... let me know what you think!

Pick up a book before bed - It beats blue screen blues and aids deep, restful sleep.

Read to your children - I've written before about the importance of this and how to overcome feelings of embarrassment. It is a privilege that doesn't last for long and can instill a love for literature from an early age. It's also a great way to wind down after a busy day.

Head to the library - There are three great reasons for this one:

  1. When the children are old enough to read, they're often old enough to be left in the safe 'children's section' while you explore the crime, thriller, fantasy, non-fiction sections. YOU TIME!
  2. The books are free (and nothing beats the smell of a library book!)
  3. Libraries usually have many events and activities planned which will excite your children to come back for more.

Indulge in the Written Word - Ask a group of adults to write a story and the majority will decline in abject horror. Ask a five-year-old to write their own story and at the least they'll show some interest and at the most they'll jump on the bandwagon with enthusiasm.

Encourage your child to invent, imagine, write down ideas and talk about the world as they see it.

This is a great way to support literacy and there are several benefits with this one: you'll gain a wonderful insight into the world of your children. It's also a great way to gauge understanding and ability. Ask them to read you their stories and you'll be able to hear how well their vocabulary is coming on and notice any spelling mistakes as you look over their shoulder. You'll also pick up on any world beliefs or fears you may want to address.

Learn a little, live a lot - Learning a foreign language is a great reminder of what it's like to grapple with literacy. Taking lessons in a foreign language by yourself or with the kids can be a great way to understand and appreciate other cultures and lifestyles. It also stretches the brain and if you're learning with the family, it's a fun bonding experience and you instantly have people to practice with!

Over on my blog, The Toy Hunter, I share more tips on enjoying books and reading at home using simple games and teaching techniques.

Read the full original article here.