World Book Day [this year on 3 March] is a compelling celebration of books and reading which is recognised by UNESCO and is marked in 100 countries worldwide. It is a wonderful reminder to celebrate all that books bring us and what a source of great pleasure, and fun, they are to us and young readers.
Play therapists work with a play therapy kit that enables a child to tell their stories through metaphor, instead of direct language. By using art, music, clay, sand, drama, puppets, masks, dressing up props, games and therapeutic storytelling, a child reveals their sadness and losses from the safe distance of the metaphor.
As modern books go, I haven't seen much in them that isn't okay for my children to consume. The stories are interesting (the first few times at least - they get a bit much after the twentieth recital), the rhymes are fun, the characters are pretty easy to like. And the big plus - they are much more diverse and not at all offensive/sick/macabre than the fairy tales of old.
So, alongside this initiative let's keep driving reading every day. It doesn't matter who's doing the reading - parent or child - ideally both - let's make it happen. And if you have an hour to spare let's get more and more adults sharing their love of reading with children at their local school - every interaction will help.
Most of the attention in our education system is paid to the older end - exams and universities. Yet much of the action - in terms of making a difference - takes places at the start. Or even before children arrive at school. Put it this way: if you want better GCSE results, you should invest in nursery education.